Category Archives: Healthy Living

Walking + Water = Healthy Living

Lori Mercer is motivated by keeping up with her grand children

Last January, Lori Mercer was motivated by a desire familiar to women everywhere. She wanted to look healthier and feel great at her son’s upcoming September wedding. She’d experienced the ups and downs of weight loss and gain over the years after having her children. “Weight Watchers, Slimfast, The 21-Day Fix, I’d tried them all,” she admitted.

One year ago, she was determined to do something that worked, and that would last. Serving as the Health Coach Navigator at the Mount Ayr Medical Clinic and a licensed practical nurse, Lori knows the facts about losing weight. But knowing what to do, and actually doing it are two different things. “If you’re going to lose weight, you need to have your head in the game,” she said. “If you’re not focused, you’re just not going to do it.” Although she started the year with her goal in mind, it wasn’t until February that she really got some traction. A challenge among RCH employees called “Live Healthy RCH” kickstarted her journey. The combination of teamwork, accountability, and competition inspired her to give it her best. “We earned points for exercising, drinking water, and completing different challenges,” she said. “It was really helpful to be in a challenge group with my co-workers. We were competitive!”

One of Lori’s teammates, Leslie Murphy, is the health coach for the Mount Ayr Medical Clinic. “She thought meeting my goal to lose 50 pounds by September was going to be tough, but she agreed to help me and keep me accountable. Knowing I was going to weigh in with Leslie once a week made a difference.” Lori’s exercise routine started by putting one foot in front of the other – literally. She’d get up early and do a 30-45-minute workout using an online video to start the day. In the winter, she’d work out in her house. She’d walk for 20 minutes in the middle of the day, and again in the evening. In nice weather, she rode her bike several times a week. “I was working out three times a day, mostly walking,” she said. Along with regular exercise, she paid attention to what she was eating. “I didn’t deprive myself of anything. I was just careful. I cut back on food, but occasionally, I’d have a cookie or a piece of cake.” Again, the Live Healthy RCH challenge helped. “I had to be sure our team got our points. Even when I went on vacation I took an iPad so I could continue using the online workout,” she added. “I was that committed to losing the weight.” Her results? She beat her 50-pound goal and lost 54 pounds before the wedding. “I feel better. I have so much more energy. I’m less tired during the day because I’m not carrying all that extra weight around.”

As much as Lori wanted to look and feel great for the wedding last September, she has a long-term motivation. She’s a lifelong Ringgold County resident who has lived in area her entire life. With four grown sons and eight grandchildren mostly nearby, she wants to enjoy every minute with them. Even after exceeding her goal, Lori is determined to take off another 30 or 40 pounds. The Live Healthy RCH Challenge is right around the corner, and she’s ready to take it on again. “I’m doing food prep this week. I’m ready to go!”

Lori’s Top Tips
• Drink lots of water. The latest studies are saying we should drink half our body weight in ounces every day. Then add 20 ounces for every 30 minutes of exercise.
• Get up and start moving. Even if it’s just for five minutes. Then each day add five minutes. Each week add 10 minutes. Do it for 14 days straight. It will become a habit and you’ll want to do it.
• Don’t deprive yourself of food you really enjoy. Just limit portions to a smaller amount.
• If your head isn’t in the game, you’re not going to do it. Just take baby steps to get started. Remember, you’re doing it for you.
• Put up a visual reminder to keep yourself motivated. On her bathroom door, Lori posted a sign: Will it be easy? Nope. Will it be worth it? ABSOLUTELY.

For more information about meeting with the Mt. Ayr Medical Clinic Health Coach, Leslie Dredge-Murphy call (641) 464-4534 to make an appointment. Health-coaching services are available to all Mt. Ayr Medical Clinic patients.

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Diabetes and Vascular Disease

Jane Thomas appreciates the quality of care she receives at Ringgold County Hospital.

Jane Thomas knows a thing or two about surgeries. She’s had several, and there are more in her future. The Mt. Ayr resident and grandmother of four couldn’t be happier with her care at Ringgold County Hospital. Dr. Ed Wehling in particular has helped her with a variety of issues. “When Dr. Wehling came, I had a lot of trouble with abscesses. He’d take one out, and another one would appear. So he went into my stomach through my throat and looked around. After that, I had a panniculectomy. That’s when they remove a layer of fat on your lower abdomen,” she explained. “But before that, he worked  n my legs. I call it the ‘Roto-Rooter’ procedure! He opened up the arteries in my legs and it really helped.” Jane’s health issues can be attributed to her Type-2 diabetes. “I’ve had it for years. Usually I can keep my blood sugar under control. It was fine for five or six years, but now it’s up and down. We’re having a hard time getting anything to work.” She explained that it’s very difficult to lose weight because of the insulin she must take. “It’s a fat-storing hormone.” Even after she lost weight after the panniculectomy, it’s been difficult to get around. Her enthusiasm and good cheer hasn’t been dimmed, and she appreciates the staff at RCH. “We are so fortunate to have Dr. Wehling,” she said. “He’s so knowledgeable and is really top notch. At the same time, he’s a hoot!”

Ed Wehling, D.O

Dr. Wehling is keeping an eye on Jane’s cartoid arteries.  Right now they’re about 70% blocked. When they reach 75%, she’ll need another surgery to have them cleaned out. In the meantime, she’s scheduled with RCH orthopedic surgeon Dr. Homedan for a procedure on her arm as a result of a stroke she suffered several years ago. Jane’s positive attitude and good humor is obviously serving her well. “We are just so lucky to have this hospital and this staff in our small town,” she said. “The nurses provide such good care and the surgeons are the best.”

Diabetes and Vascular Disease

Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not produce or properly use insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches, and other food into energy needed for daily life. There are several types of diabetes, however Type 2 diabetes (previously called “adult onset diabetes”) is the most common type, accounting for 90-95% of all diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is associated with older age, obesity, physical inactivity, a family history of diabetes, a history of gestational diabetes, and race and ethnicity.

The majority of adults with diabetes die from vascular disease. Their risk is 2-4 times higher than adults without diabetes. Diabetes causes vascular disease if there is too much glucose in the blood. This excess glucose damages the blood vessels.

Diabetes is linked to several vascular diseases:
• Retinopathy, abnormal growth of blood vessels in your retina
• Nephropathy, a disease that damages the tiny filtering units of the kidney
• Neuropathy, a condition causing a loss of sensation in the feet and toes
• Atherosclerosis, hardening and narrowing of the arteries
• Stroke, the sudden death of brain cells due to lack of oxygen

Complications from diabetes may be prevented by:
• Eating well-balanced meals in the correct amounts to keep blood sugar levels as close to normal (non-diabetes level) as possible. Managing your diet so that you are eating a wide variety of foods including vegetables, whole grains, fruits, non-fat dairy products, beans, lean meats, poultry, and fish.
• Regular physical activity to lower your blood glucose (sugar), blood pressure, and cholesterol. It also reduces your risk for heart disease and stroke, relieves stress, and strengthens your heart, muscles, and bones. In addition, regular activity helps insulin work better, improves your blood circulation, and keeps your joints flexible.
• Losing some weight if you’re overweight. People with diabetes are more likely to be overweight and to have high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
• Stop smoking. Both smoking and diabetes put you at risk of vascular disease, and together they can kill you.

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Health Fair October 5

 Join RCH for a health fair and a free meal on Thursday, October 5 from 4:30-7:00 pm. Ringgold County Hospital will be offering mini education sessions:
  • Antibiotic Stewardship
  • Blood Pressure: Know Your Numbers
  • COPD
  • Foot Care
  • A “Minnion” Ways to Move
  • New Patient Portal
  • Scamming: How to Protect Yourself
  • Stop the Bleed: Bystander Trauma Education
Other Activities Include:

Car Seat Safety Checks CPPC/Certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians

Dental Services Community Health Centers of Southern IA

Hearing Testing/Screenings Audiological Services, Inc. Dr. Michael Webb

Vision Screenings Family Vision Center Dr. Joel Weis

SHIIP Senior Insurance Jane Lawhead

Importance of Blood Donations LifeServe Blood Center

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle County Conservation Board

Difference Between Formula & Breastmilk WIC

Healthy Eating Iowa State University Extension and Outreach

Hand Massage HCI Care Services

Quitline Iowa Page Co. Public Health-Tobacco Prevention


Is your baby safe?

Bring your child, their car seat, and your vehicle for a free car seat safety check with a Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician. They will check for proper installation and ensure that your child fits properly in their seat. Safety Checks will be conducted in your vehicle by the South Senior Life Solutions entrance. Qualifying families will receive a free replacement car seat (while supplies last).


Here for Your Emergencies

Call 911 when you need emergency medical assistance

The Mount Ayr Medical Clinic is open five days a week for non-emergency medical care. Ringgold County Hospital’s Emergency Room is open 24/7 for emergency medical conditions such as:

  • Immediate onset of symptoms, including severe pain
  • Suspected heart attack or stroke
  • Reasonable belief that immediate medical attention is necessary to avoid damage to organs or your health
  • Sudden or extreme difficulty breathing
  • Sudden or extended loss of consciousness
  • Bleeding that will not stop
  • Major burns

Other serious conditions could be considered emergencies if they require immediate treatment to prevent serious complications. Examples include
deep cuts, broken bones, chest pain, seizures, and suspected poisoning. Sudden onset of severe headache or abdominal pain, as well as shortness of breath, may also be considered emergencies.

Message to Parents About Concussion

To maximize your child’s recovery from concussion, double up on the Rs: REDUCE and REST! Insist that your child rest, especially for the first few days following the concussion and through the three-week recovery period. Some symptoms of concussion can be so severe on the first day to two that your child may need to stay home from school.

When you child returns to school, request that he/she be allowed to “sit out” of sports, recess and physical education classes immediately after the concussion. Work with your Primary Care Practitioner to determine when your child is ready to return to physical activity, recess and/or PE classes.

Don’t let your child convince you he/she will rest “later” (after the prom, after finals, etc.). Rest must happen immediately! The school team will help your child reduce their academic load. However, it is your job to help to reduce sensory load at home. Advise your child/teen to:

  • Avoid loud group functions (games, dances)
  • Limit video games, text messaging, social media, and computer screen time
  • Limit reading and homework A concussion will almost universally slow reaction time; therefore, driving should not be allowed pending medical clearance.

Plenty of sleep and quiet, restful activities after the concussion maximizes your child’s chances for a great recovery! The Brain Injury Alliance of Iowa provides Neuro-Resource Facilitation, a free and confidential service offered to individuals with brain injury and their families. This program offers support in coping with the issues of living with brain injury and transition back to school and the community.
Source: Iowa Concussion Consortium

Additional supplemental information about concussion and other brain injuries can be found at

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