Health risk survey your tool for good health

  • Published
  • By Marilyn Leggett, RN
  • Civilian Health Promotion Services
The AFMC Wellness and Safety Campaign is the command's ongoing program that focuses on helping individuals develop a positive wellness attitude.

The AFMC Wellness Support Center is a website designed for use by all Eglin active duty and appropriated-fund civilians and is a component of the Wellness and Safety campaign. The campaign encompasses all facets of wellness: physical, emotional, social and spiritual. The site contains resources, links and programs, such as "10,000 Steps a Day," which allows individuals to track progress as their fitness levels improve. The site can be accessed either from home or work on a 24/7 basis.

A specific and vital tool on the site is the Health Risk Appraisal (HRA) questionnaire. In completing an HRA, answer questions such as individual overall health, blood pressure, medical conditions, diet and current activity level. The HRA takes less than 10 minutes to complete and, after finishing the HRA, a wellness profile is immediately received. This real-time feedback is designed to increase awareness and help the user make decisions about health in categories such as nutrition, heart health and potential health risks. It links directly to resources and educational materials specific to the responses. A Wellness Profile is maintained under the registration on the website for viewing at any time and can also be printed.

Sometimes a concern for individuals is that of confidentiality, keeping personal information private. Upon entering the website, and indicating "civilian" or "active-duty member", there's a prompt to register with a personal identification name and password. All identities are anonymous and all information is confidential. Answers to the HRA are utilized in aggregate, in combination with other data, but individual data is not used.

The Wellness Council of America stated, "quantifying your health status is one of the single most important steps you can take in leading a long and healthy life." Completing a HRA will allow individuals to see areas where they want to make changes, and it will give a written game plan for better health. It can also be used as a framework for discussing lifestyle changes with a health care provider and, if a DoD civilian, information about annual cholesterol screenings should be included.

Examining health behaviors, history, preferences and readiness to change is the first step to good health. A HRA can help motivate to set goals and start making healthy behavior changes to improve the quality of life today and for the future. 

When you completed your HRA you received a Wellness Profile, a summary of information offering recommendations on topics such as blood pressure, nutrition and overall health. It is important that you discuss your findings on an individual basis with your health care provider if areas of concern were identified. Likewise, if you have participated in cholesterol/cardiac risk screening as an appropriated-fund civilian, an appointment should be made to discuss any results that are out of range.

The goal of using the information from your HRA or civilian cardiac risk screening is to implement positive lifestyle changes to improve your current health. 

Tips for talking to your heartache provider include:
-Be specific about what the appointment is for; for example, elevated LDL cholesterol. -Bring a current list of your medications including all herbal or over-the-counter medications.
-For individuals tracking blood pressure or blood sugar, a log of your readings should always be brought.
-If you use items such as orthotics or canes, hearing aids or other items, always have them with you so that your provider/health care staff can see how well you're doing with the equipment.

Additional tips include:
-Make a list of questions to take with you and bring pertinent information from your HRA or cholesterol results. 
-if necessary, bring along a friend or family member who can listen along with you and help you remember the information discussed.
-Write down information that is discussed.
-Be honest with your provider about your current lifestyle practices.
- Ask questions if you don't understand something and if you forget information after you've gotten home, call the provider' s office and ask again.
-If finances are a problem, ask if assistance or resources are available.
-If your treatment plan is not working or you are having problematic side effects with your medications, contact your provider right away so that your treatment can be adjusted. --Don't stop or adjust your medications or action plans without consulting with your provider.

There are largely two main players where your health and well-being are concerned: you and your provider. You must each actively do your part so that you get the optimal benefit of your partnership. When you assist your care provider in focusing on your areas of concern, he or she is in an optimal position to assist you in taking care of your health and, remember, your health is mission critical.

For more information contact Civilian Health Promotion Services: 883-8024 or the Health and Wellness Center: 883-8022/8020.