How to access your GetHealthie portal

Why we use Healthie to help our members.

My Healthy Potential uses Healthie to provide numerous important services to our members who have signed up for our coaching services. We like the platform and the accompanying smart phone app, and you will too! We especially like the telehealth option for conducting one-on-one sessions between members and their health coaches!

What you get with Healthie.

Seamless communication. Secure video conferencing, messaging, and real-time comments on nutrition & fitness choices from our health coaches. This means you have the accountability and support when it matters the most.

A modern food journal. Picture-based food logging supports mindful, proactive eating choices.

Medical-grade security. Healthie meets HIPAA-compliant standards used by America’s hospitals and health systems for security and privacy. So, as you complete all your paperwork electronically, rest-assured it’s protected.

Results to be proud of. Set and achieve goals and track your progress overtime. Over 80% of Americans who work with a health coach professional make substantial progress towards their health goals. It is very useful to track your workouts, key metrics, and more.

An integrated mobile app. From your mobile device, you can work with your health coach to track all of your health activity–from food, workouts, health metrics, and more. Monitor your progress and performance in between coaching appointments to make sure you stay on course. Your coach will be there to cheer you on as you reach your milestones.

Simplify the administrative aspects of working with your health coach. Electronically complete your paperwork and risk calculators or assessments, Access and review your health documents, and store and print items like laboratory reports, meal plans, recipes, and more. Automatically share your food journal and other notes. Schedule sessions and receive reminders.

Purchase special packages or helpful wellness equipment online. There are unique offers for only coaching members made in addition to our routine equipment and routine laboratory offers for non-members at myhealthypotential.com.

Once you are enrolled, here is how you will access the Healthie platform via our GetHealthie portal

Congratulations on becoming a member of MyHealthyPotential.com! You’re on the right track to lowering your personal health risks.

You will have routine access to our GetHealthie portal. While there you can use our Health Risk Calculators or Health Risk Assessment (HRA), see your Laboratory Results and Coaching Records, plus track your progress.

When you become a full member of www.myhealthypotential.com, you will receive a welcome message by email. This message will give you information on how to access the GetHealthie portal.

It looks like this–

 

Schedule an appointment and obtain your laboratory results

2A benefit to membership to MyHealthyPotential.com is the opportunity to have laboratory testing done to establish a few baseline numbers, such as cholesterol and blood glucose level. If you are not yet a member and want to learn about your options, click here for more information.

If you are a member and have signed up for laboratory testing, here are instructions how to find Laboratory Corporation of America’s Patient Service Center (LabCorp) nearest you, schedule an appointment, obtain your tests, and finally, where to find your test results once they are available.

After you select Laboratory Testing as an option at www.MyHealthyPotential.com, our home site, you will receive a confirmation message by email. A Laboratory Requisition Form will be attached. That requisition will tell the lab staff exactly which tests you’ll be receiving. Before going to the lab, print it out and take it with you.

Use the locator tool on the LabCorp site to find the Patient Services Center that you wish to visit. Proceed to enter your starting location zip code (or include your address, city, and state) and then choose a distance from your starting location. We suggest a choice like “within 50 miles” in order to expand your choices.

Press the SEARCH button and that will show lab locations on a map. Select the one most convenient to you by clicking on it, and it should open with the details and address for that facility. You can then map the directions from your address to that location. Here is an example.

 

LabCorp lab locator

To dramatically reduce your wait time, you should also schedule an appointment for testing. On this page is a blue link entitled “Schedule an Appointment.” Choosing that will start a scheduling process:

In the section entitled “Service Information” proceed with selections as follows:

  • Enter the total number of patients (1)
  • Select the reason for testing–Labwork (Routine Clinical)
  • Will you be fasting—select “Yes

Select Time: Schedule your appointment for a time that will have allowed you to be fasting for at least 8 hours, or even 10-12 hours. For most of you, this might be the first thing in the morning. There is a nice calendar of available time slots to use in selecting your appointment.

Enter Information: Include your personal information. You will be asked to select: Primary Insurance Provider or Payment method, and Secondary Insurance Provider or Payment method. Simply choose “Other” for both of these.

Confirm Appointment, and then,

Print Appointment

You will receive an acknowledgement confirming your appointment from Lab Corp by email. Do not concern yourself with the method of payment. Your lab fees have been prepaid and you will not be asked to pay at the time of service.

Usually, your test results will be available in 24-36 hours. We will upload them into your GetHealthie records and you will receive an email that tells you they’re ready for viewing. Then you can sign in and view the results as a PDF file under Document Storage. You should also find your results have been entered into you Tracker section and synchronized with your HRA if you have completed that.

How to obtain biomedical equipment

Congratulations in choosing to learn more about your current health status and monitor your progress by purchasing biomedical equipment.

Only members of MyHealthyPotential.com can purchase biomedical equipment, such as a blood pressure monitor, tape measure, body fat analyzer, or scale from our site. We’ve chosen specific pieces of equipment to save you the time in trying to figure out what you need and which options to pick when reviewing various models. It’s all in an effort to give you a one-stop experience and get you on your way to lowering your health risks.

If you are not yet a member, check out the options and get started here.

Once you’re a member and place your order for biomedical equipment, you will receive a confirmation message by email. It is our goal to process your order the same day we receive it. Then it takes an additional day for it to leave the warehouse or distribution center. Usually, your tracking number will be available once that happens, and we will send you by email that number and the link to the tracking service so you can follow progress.

Once it arrives, it will include instructions on how it is best used. In addition, you may return to our site to learn more about how to use it.

It is very unlikely that you might need to return any of your equipment. However, if you need to do so, there will be instructions on the packing slip within the parcel on how to make the return.

What is diabetes and what do my blood sugar numbers mean?

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Maybe you have a family member with diabetes? Or you have been sent to the lab to check your FBG or even your A1C. Unfortunately, not only do you not understand the acronyms, you have no idea why you need these blood sugar tests. Here are some simple answers to these questions.

What is FBG and how do I prepare for the test?

If a doctor suggests that you should do a “FBG” test, this stands for Fasting Blood Glucose. To prepare for this test of blood sugar, you should

  • Refrain from eating for 8-12 hours (listen to your doctor’s recommendation) before the test
  • Try to schedule the appointment for first thing in the morning when fasting is not quite as difficult.
  • Understand that anything you consume, even a small sip of juice, can alter the results.
  • Ask your doctor if you should take your normal medications before or after the test. If you take the medications before the test, you should take them only with water

If you forget any of these tips and are not fasting, you should re-schedule your FBG test as the results will be inaccurate.

blood sugar, blood sugar monitor, finger prick
Photo: v1ctor Casale./flickr

What do my blood sugar results mean?

When you get the results from this test you can expect the following types of numbers:

70-100 mg/dL* = NORMAL

100-125 mg/dL* = impaired fasting blood glucose or prediabetes

126+ mg/dL* = diabetes

Additionally, your doctor might ask you to do a random blood glucose blood draw. This can be done at any time of the day and the effect of eating on your blood glucose is what is being tested. If you take this assessment, the results would look like this:

Less than 125 mg/dL* = normal

More than 200 mg/dL* = diabetes

*mg/dL means milligrams per deciliter.  That means you have that many milligrams (a very small unit of measure) of sugar per deciliter of blood (about 3.4 oz).

What is the HgbA1c test?

Recently, a newer test has become very useful in diagnosing and helping to monitor diabetes. Your fasting blood glucose measures the glucose at on one single point in time (think of it as a biopsy of the blood).  If your FBG scores were outside the normal range, the doctor might suggest that you do a Hemoglobin A1c (HgbA1c) test, often just called A1C. This test checks the average amount of sugar in your blood over the past 2-3 months. It is a better indicator of your longer-term blood levels of glucose and thus the risk of diabetes and how well you are managing it if you already have it. The results you get on this test will look like this:

4.5-6.0% = normal

5.7-6.4% = could be a predictor of prediabetes and your doctor might advise exercise and dietary changes

6.5% or higher on two occasions = diabetes

8% or higher = uncontrolled diabetes

This number indicates the percentage of sugar absorbed within your hemoglobin molecules (the oxygen carrying component of blood). The higher the blood sugar has been over time the higher the percentage. Since red blood cells containing hemoglobin are produced all the time but each cell lasts about 120 days, this test estimates the average amount of glucose in your blood for recent weeks.

Now that I know my blood sugar numbers, what do they mean?

Now that we understand all the numbers, why do we care about them? Diabetes is a controllable but progressive disease. By understanding it and its progression, we can help to avoid complications which include:

  • Damaged blood vessels (could lead to stroke or heart attack)
  • Kidney damage
  • Eye problems
  • Circulation problems
  • Memory problems
  • Certain cancers

Dealing with a diagnosis of prediabetes or diabetes

A diagnosis of type 2 diabetes or prediabetes does not mean the end of the eating world as you know it. It might, however, mean that making changes in your diet and daily activity routines are required to manage the disease. Looking at the lab results with an educated eye and discussing them with your doctor will allow you to better understand your condition and make good choices in dealing with it. Obviously, preventing an elevated fasting blood glucose, before it develops in to full-blown disease, is extremely important.

Your cholesterol results and making changes

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HDL, LDL, total cholesterol, triglycerides, this one high, this one low. It sounds like a confusing bowl of alphabet soup. What is it? It is cholesterol and all the confusing terms that go along with it. Let’s try to understand a lipid profile!

What is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a waxy fat-like substance found in animals but not plants. It is present in cells of the body (especially in the liver) and travels through the blood stream. Even people who don’t consume any cholesterol still have it in their cells. It’s necessary to make hormones and vitamin D and is used in bile to help digest food. Your body will make the cholesterol it needs. (Learn even more about cholesterol in this article from the National Institute of Health.)

cholesterol blood test
Photo: Kenny Holston 21/flickr

Understanding the components of cholesterol

Often when we get blood work done, there’s a report on total cholesterol. This number is important to know but alone it’s not quite as important as the components.

LDL cholesterol stands for low density lipoproteins and is often called “bad” cholesterol (L is lousy). This cholesterol is sticky and slow moving and will often stick to the walls of arteries where its involved in forming and building obstructions called plaque. The reason this is dangerous is that this plaque can eventually obstruct the vessel  or even worse can break away and cause a further blockage in an artery—one in an artery supplying the heart would lead to a heart attack, while one in an artery to the brain can lead to a stroke (a “brain attack”). Obviously, these are scary things! It is recommended to keep this number as low as possible, ideally atleast under 130 mg/dL, with a value of less than 100 mg/dL considered optimal..

Another component of cholesterol is HDL. HDL stands for high density lipoprotein and this is called “good cholesterol” (H is Healthy). You want this number as high as possible, ideally over 60. HDL picks up plaque and takes it to the liver to be cleared from the body.

Triglycerides are the last most notable component of cholesterol. Triglycerides aid in the formation of plaque, like LDL cholesterol does. Ideally, you definitely want this number under 200 mg/dL, but the lower the better, many current sources say as low as 150 mg/dL.. The formation of plaque can lead to same issues mentioned above.

Help me understand my numbers

Below is a chart from the National Cholesterol Education Program that makes sense of the numbers. If yours fall in the borderline or high categories, or you have diabetes which in itself leads to increased risks, don’t delay in consulting with your doctor.

Total Cholesterol Level
Category
Less than 200mg/dL Desirable
200-239 mg/dL Borderline high
240mg/dL and above High
LDL (Bad) Cholesterol Level
LDL Cholesterol Category
Less than 100mg/dL Optimal
100-129mg/dL Near optimal/above optimal
130-159 mg/dL Borderline high
160-189 mg/dL High
190 mg/dL and above Very High
HDL (Good) Cholesterol Level
HDL Cholesterol Category
Less than 40 mg/dL A major risk factor for heart disease
40—59 mg/dL The higher, the better
60 mg/dL and higher Considered protective against heart disease

 

Image source: https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/magazine/issues/summer12/articles/summer12pg6-7.html 

Why it’s important to know your blood pressure

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What exactly is blood pressure?

Each time your heart beats, it sends blood to the body through the aorta and then through blood vessels called arteries. With each beat, the blood exerts pressure on the arteries, just like water puts pressure on a water balloon when filling it. When the heart rests between beats, there’s still blood in the artery but the pressure becomes less. The resulting highest and lowest pressures from these two actions, together make up your blood pressure measurement.

What do the numbers mean?

When you go to the doctor, you will often have your blood pressure assessed as part of the screening process. The result will come in the form of two numbers and is usually quoted as XXX/XX or “XXX over XX.”

The first number, called the “top” number or systolic blood pressure, is the pressure in the artery when the heart is at maximum output. The second number, called the “bottom” number or diastolic blood pressure, is the pressure when the heart relaxes between beats. This process goes on with each beat of the heart. If you understand this, you will easily understand why having high blood pressure can be dangerous.

blood pressure, blood pressure monitor
Photo: Tunstall Telehealthcare/flickr

 

Why is high blood pressure a problem?

Arteries supply the entire body with blood, including the brain and the heart itself. Blood transports oxygen. If and when an artery is damaged, there is the risk of losing oxygen to the part of the body that artery supplies with oxygen. If either the heart (heart attack) or the brain (stroke) goes without oxygen for too long, there can be serious implications, including death.

Let’s go back to the water balloon example. If you continue to put water into the balloon, it will eventually pop. Or, if you keep filling and re-filling the balloon with too much water, it will weaken. The arteries work may be thought of in a similar way.

Applying pressure on the arteries with each and every beat of the heart (approximately 80-100,000 beats per day), can really weaken the arteries and put you at risk for serious health complications. This is why it is imperative to not only know your blood pressure, but to keep it under control by any means you can. Because it often may go unrecognized, high blood pressure has been called a “silent killer”.

How do I find out if I have high blood pressure?

There are a few ways to know you blood pressure. First, is an annual check-up with your doctor. If your blood pressure is normal, you will likely be asked to come back in a year. However, if your blood pressure is elevated, you might be asked to come back for additional screenings, or you might be asked to check your blood pressure at home.

Checking your blood pressure regularly and in a comfortable environment will give you and your doctor a better feel for what’s going on. In fact, a 2013 study says that checking blood pressure at home is one of the best ways to keep your blood pressure in check.

What are some ways I can get my blood pressure under control and keep it there?

While one bout of exercise isn’t enough to lower blood pressure, daily cardiovascular exercise can help lower and keep blood pressure to within a normal range over time.

Eating a diet low in saturated fats and eating healthy fats and fiber, while minimizing your intake of salt and alcohol can help maintain a healthy blood pressure.

The last way to control blood pressure, if you have already been diagnosed with high blood pressure, is to get and take the medication recommended by your doctor.

Unfortunately, there is no real way to know if you have high blood pressure unless you get it checked. This “silent killer” is sneaky because people may have a heart attack or stroke before they recognize symptoms of having had high blood pressure.  This is why it is important to see your doctor or check your blood pressure on a regular basis.

Below is a chart to help you understand what the numbers are and their categories.

 

Blood Pressure
Category
Systolic
mm Hg (upper #)
 
Diastolic
mm Hg (lower #)
Normal less than 120 and less than 80
Prehypertension 120 – 139 or 80 – 89
High Blood Pressure
(Hypertension) Stage 1
140 – 159 or 90 – 99
High Blood Pressure
(Hypertension) Stage 2
160 or higher or 100 or higher
Hypertensive Crisis
(Emergency care needed)
Higher than 180 or Higher than 110

 

(http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HighBloodPressure/AboutHighBloodPressure/Understanding-Blood-Pressure-Readings_UCM_301764_Article.jsp#.Vn2I70orLIU

How to accurately take and track body measurements

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When starting on a fitness and health journey, we are often consumed with thoughts of weight and the numbers on the scales. Often, however, before changes are seen on the scale, some changes can be noted in body measurements.

Why are body measurements important?

One way of seeing progress is to check circumference measurements of several body parts. You might notice your clothes are fitting better but the number on the scale has not changed much. Taking body measurements can give you a clear indication that what you are doing is working.

How do I take accurate body measurements?

It is best of have a friend, workout buddy, coach, or personal trainer take the measurements for you, using these guidelines.

  • All measurements should be taken with a flexible, yet inelastic tape measure.
  • If only one limb measurement is taken, it should be taken on the right side of the body. Both sides can be done for comparison.
  • The tape should be placed on the skin, but not compress any of it.
  • Take at least two measurements at each site and retest if the second measure is not within 5 mm of the first.
  • Do not do the measurement for the same body part immediately. Rotate through all of the body parts to allow skin time to regain normal texture.*

The American College of Sports Medicine gives these guidelines for taking body measurements. A skilled health coach or personal trainer should know these.

Photo: ThomasKohler/flickr
Photo: ThomasKohler/flickr

Abdomen: While standing, upright and relaxed, the measure is taken at the height of the top of the hip bone, usually at the level of the umbilicus.

Arm/Biceps: While standing, arms hanging freely, measure at the midway point between the elbow and the shoulder joint.

Buttocks/Hips: While standing, measure is taken at the largest circumference of the buttocks. This is the measure taken for the waist/hip ratio.

Calf: While standing, the measure is taken at the largest circumference of the lower leg between the ankle and knee.

Forearm: While standing, the measure is taken at the largest circumference of the lower arm, between the wrist and elbow

Hips/Thigh: While standing, legs slightly apart (about 5 inches), measure at the largest circumference of the hip/thighs.

Mid-Thigh: While standing with one foot on a bench so the knee is flexed at 90 degrees, a circumference is measured midway between the knee and the bend of the leg near the hip.

Waist: While standing, arms at the sides, feet together and body relaxed, measure at the narrowest part of the torso above the umbilicus and below the bottom of the sternum. This is the measure used for the waist/hip ratio.*

It is also interesting to note that obesity is now not only being defined by a number on the scale or a Body Mass Index (BMI) ratio, but also by waist circumference. For a man a waist circumference of more than 40 inches is at high risk. Note that this is the actual circumference measurement and not the pants size a man might buy. In a non-pregnant woman, a waist circumference of more than 35 inches poses health risks. These health risks include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers.

When you begin a health journey, it’s important to be equipped with all the tools and measurements you might need to succeed. If weight stops coming off, it might be a good idea to re-check your body measurements, or % body fat. These measurements can keep you motivated and keep your health in good shape!

*http://slideplayer.com/slide/4880532/

Body fat: Tracking and looking for a trend

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Technology has given us many different tactics for both assessing and tracking health and fitness efforts. One useful method is to do so with a body fat analyzer.

Different types of body fat analyzers

There are a variety of ways to estimate body fat, but the most popular devices that you can buy in the store and use at home are called bio-electrical impedance monitors. These are sold at commercial retailers either in the form of body fat step-on scales or as a hand-held version. Either device can provide valuable information to someone who is on a fitness or health journey. A useful hand-held device is available on our website

OmronHBF306CHandheldBodyFatLossMonitor
Body fat analyzer

There are a few issues to consider when using these monitors.

First and foremost, these devices must be used with a sense of knowledge about their value and accuracy. In laboratory settings, they have been shown to be fairly accurate compared to the “gold standards” in the industry. These gold standards include hydrostatic weighing, DEXA scan, and the BodPod. These approaches are usually only available in a few special facilities and laboratories.

While these gold standard methods are the most accurate and give very valid feedback, they are expensive, somewhat invasive, and very impractical for the average consumer. The bio-electrical impedance monitors are an affordable, and under the correct circumstances, a reasonably accurate way to assess body composition.  They are easier to use and usually more accurate than measurements with body fat calipers which were often used for screening purposes before impedance devices became widely available.

Getting an accurate measurement

In order to get a correct assessment of your current body fat reading, you must make sure certain protocols are followed.

  • First, aim to do the assessment at the same time each day.
  • Second, make sure you complete the assessment the first thing in the morning or at least one to two hours after eating food. Taking the assessment when rising for the day will ensure a consistent testing protocol but sometimes this is not an option. If so the one to two hour window is the next best option.
  • Third, be aware of factors affecting blood circulation. In addition to maintaining consistency with timing and food intake, you should realize that circulation also plays a role. Being in a very cold room, doing the assessment after taking a hot bath or shower, attempting the assessment when sick or fatigued, exercising just prior to the assessment, drinking alcohol or an excessive amount of water, or going in a sauna can all impact the results of this assessment.

You can easily see how obtaining the assessment under similar conditions each time, first thing in the morning, may be the easiest and makes the most sense.

 

How a bio-electrical impedance monitor (body fat analyzer) works

The reason factors like time of day, food intake, and circulation impact the test results is that the technique tracks the impedance (or resistance) of your body to a minute electrical current as it travels through your body. This current is very small and not at all dangerous (unless you have a cardiac pacemaker).

The current travels quickly through water and more slowly through fat and bone. The faster the current goes, the lower your body fat will be. However, since it is calculated based on water, you can see how food and drink intake, exercising, or using a sauna could impact the accuracy of the assessment. Further, how you stand on the scale or hold your arms while doing the hand held assessment can also impact the speed of the current. It is imperative that proper protocol be followed.

Other special considerations when using a body fat analyzer

In addition to these parameters, certain people should be aware of potential inaccuracies when using these monitors. Children, elderly and post-menopausal women, individuals with osteoporosis or on dialysis, or those with extremely low body fat will often have inaccurate readings. However, if you do not concern yourself with the actual number, but monitor the changes you make over time, the tool can still benefit you even if you are in one of these groups.

 

Tracking changes

Your equipment will come with a description of normal ranges for men and women of your height and age.  Of special importance is the fact that body fat analyzers can be very helpful in tracking changes and improvements to health and fitness over time. As long as you’re consistent in how/when you use a body fat analyzer, you’ll be able to add much useful detail to your efforts for tracking improvement and success.  Add body fat analysis to your tracking regimen to further evaluate your progress with improved lifestyle.  It is exciting to use ongoing body fat analyses, along with measurements of weight, calculations of waist/hip ratio, and body mass index (BMI) to document change!.