The September 2, 2015, chat with GEHA's panel of health-and-wellness experts has concluded. The transcript is available below and will remain online for several weeks.

For more information about GEHA, please visit the GEHA health home page or the GEHA dental home page, or give us a call at (800) 821-6136


El Paso, Texas (Connection Dental Federal (FEDVIP) Standard): For a 66-year-old male with a low DHEA level, would you recommend supplementing with oral DHEA? View Answer

Virginia Beach, Virginia (GEHA Standard Option): I've been having poor circulation in my feet. Is that a health issue? View Answer

Sherwood, Oregon (GEHA High Option, Connection Dental Federal (FEDVIP) High): If my blood sugar is not at goal often and I won't take insulin, what organ are affected and what are the damages? View Answer

Medford, Massachusetts (GEHA Standard Option): For losing 10-20 pounds of weight, I would like to hire someone to help me. Is it better to hire a nutritionist or a fitness instructor? I already exercise regularly. Thank you. View Answer

Washington, District of Columbia (GEHA HDHP Option, Connection Dental Federal (FEDVIP) High): In the last week I bought the nutria bullet machine and have been blending every fruit and vegetable I can find. I've used papaya, honeydew melon, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, baby spinach leaves, chard, red, yellow and orange peppers, kale, chia seeds, bananas, apples, pears and grapes. I've used the cup size --about 12 oz. -- in the morning to substitute breakfast. I also return home and drink another cup before preparing dinner. My goal is to lose 100 lbs. Is that too much vegetable and fruit daily for me? View Answer

Park City, Utah (GEHA Standard Option): Is LDL particle number a better indicator of cardiovascular disease risk than amount of LDL in the standard blood screen? Is LDL particle size a more accurate indicator of cardiovascular disease risk? Recent reports indicate that saturated fat in the diet may not be a significant factor in cardiovascular disease. What is the evidence for and against this statement? View Answer

Vancouver, Washington (GEHA HDHP Option): Please discuss how low vitamin D-3 (serum) levels affect enamel/teeth/gums etc. View Answer

Everett, Washington (GEHA High Option, Connection Dental Plus, Connection Dental Federal (FEDVIP) High): I would like to lose 30 lbs; I need help. View Answer

New York, New York In addition to diet, how can I lower my cholesterol and blood sugar? I have a bad back and am limited as to the physical activities that I may perform. My doctor said that I should not lift anything more than 15 pounds. View Answer

Ogden, Utah (GEHA Standard Option): My hip clicks when I get up from a chair or roll over in bed. What is going on? Is it a sign of a hip replacement? I do have some pain after being on my feet all day View Answer

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (GEHA Standard Option, Connection Dental Federal (FEDVIP) Standard): I am a naturally thin 34 year old female. I have been lifting weights for the past year 4 days a week. Although I have been gaining strength I have not been able to grow very much muscle; tone my body. What should I be doing to increase muscle or tone my body? View Answer

Arlington, Virginia I can't join the chat today. Will the Q&A be available somewhere later? View Answer

Hadley, Massachusetts (GEHA Standard Option, Connection Dental Plus, Connection Dental Federal (FEDVIP) Standard): I recently heard a nutritionist say that the best way to lower cholesterol, triglycerides in particular, was to cut out sweets. Reduce intake of foods with added sugar, whether from sucrose, high fructose corn syrup, honey etc. doesn't matter. 1) Are there research studies to support this claim? 2) Is the best way to reduce overall cholesterol, without taking medication, to eat less foods high in saturated fat like red meat and full fat dairy? 3) How much can regular exercise contribute to lowering one's cholesterol level compared to suggested dietary changes? View Answer

Port Richey, Florida (GEHA Standard Option): Is there a supplement to augment my testosterone? View Answer

Jonesboro, Arkansas I understand GEHA has a program for gym membership discounts. Can you tell me more about this program? View Answer

Westerville, Ohio (GEHA Standard Option): Hi, what can I do to repair and stop my fingernails from splitting vertically? I have asked my doctor and nail technician; both say it is age and there is nothing I can do. I don't think this is normal for a healthy 52 year old woman. It is getting painful as they are splitting into the pink area. Thank you for any help you can give. View Answer

Brownsville, Texas (GEHA Standard Option, Connection Dental Federal (FEDVIP) High): I'm 40yrs old, 4ft 11in and have always maintained my weight between 104-107. This past year, I've had to watch what I eat more to avoid not only gaining weight, but also to with that bloated feeling. It's gotten so bad that I just feel that constant bloat feeling that is so uncomfortable plus I feel more tired. I've had to buy pills to help my digestive system. I've tried added food items that supposedly assist with this, but they haven't helped. I'm not a vegetable person, but I do love salads. Should I be getting a hormone level checked? Or what could I do? I've tried exercising daily, but I just maintain my weight and continue to experience that horrible bloat feeling. I drink at least 8-10 glasses of water per day. View Answer

New Orleans, Louisiana (GEHA High Option): How many times a year is teeth cleaning necessary? My dentist is trying to get me to come in every 6 months. Is this necessary? View Answer

Morrow, Georgia (GEHA Standard Option, Connection Dental Plus, Connection Dental Federal (FEDVIP) Standard): What does an A1c reading of 6.4 mean? View Answer

Mount Pleasant, Wisconsin (Connection Dental Federal (FEDVIP) Standard): How many days should a person age 65+ rest between weight lifting or strength training sessions? View Answer

Brielle, New Jersey (GEHA Standard Option): I'm 68 and it seems that I'm having trouble losing weight and gain it easily. I feel that my metabolism has slowed down. I take vitamins and blood pressure, and cholesterol medicine. I eat salads and protein but it seems that the last 2 years I've had to struggle to keep my weight down. I sometimes walk 2 to 4 miles several times a week, but I don't lose a pound. What can it be? Laura View Answer

St. Louis, Missouri (GEHA Standard Option, Connection Dental Federal (FEDVIP) High): Over four years ago, I stopped smoking to benefit my health. However, doing so caused me to gain over 40 pounds, which increased my cholesterol, blood sugar, stamina, and joint problems. I have been unable to lose the weight, regardless of what I have tried (diet, exercise, etc.). I feel that the benefits of quitting smoking have been negated by the weight gain and other health issues I now face. Can you recommend another way to shed the weight and regain the health benefits I expected to gain by quitting cigarettes? View Answer

Mesquite, Texas (GEHA High Option, Connection Dental Federal (FEDVIP) High): I had back surgery on 9/24/2014, I have not been to therapy. Would it be too late to go to therapy now? View Answer

Santa Barbara, California (GEHA Standard Option, Connection Dental Federal (FEDVIP) Standard): My question or concern would be EXERCISE! I go to my gym 4 days a weeks sometimes 5. I have a thyroid problem in which I take medication every day for this. My problem is my weight, I'm not overweight, but it seems to me that around my stomach area is the problem. Which foods should I be staying away from and which do I use? Thank you. View Answer

Durango, Colorado I take vitamins and minerals daily. Currently, I take 1200 milligrams of calcium in addition to a multi-vitamin, E, and fish oil. Is there a preferred time to take the calcium -- with the multiple vitamin or separately? I’ve heard that the calcium would not be absorbed if 1200 milligrams is taken at one time -- true or not? View Answer

Belton, Texas I have been walking 4 miles per day, 6 days per week. What do you recommend for a 68 yr., old male nutrition wise. I am not losing weight like I would like to. Thanks. View Answer

Sioux City, Iowa I took the Health Risk Assessment last year and received a $75 dollar gift card, can I take it again this year and get another $75 dollar gift card? View Answer

Bismarck, North Dakota (GEHA Standard Option, Connection Dental Plus): What is a good exercise regime for an 81-year-old male in good health? What can I do to improve my balance? I feel it getting a little shaky! View Answer

New Braunfels, Texas (GEHA Standard Option, Connection Dental Federal (FEDVIP) High): What kind of exercises and exercise limits should one do if you have osteoarthritis in wrists. I had been doing chest presses, rear row deltoids, pull downs, and curls. I didn't want to exacerbate my wrist problem so have cut down on the weight, but I would like to maintain maximum strength. I'm a 77 year old male. View Answer

Central Point, Oregon (GEHA Standard Option, Connection Dental Plus): I have seen several advertisements for "diets" that are supposed to end my diabetes condition and enable me to stop taking meds for it. Do these diets really work and if so due you offer such a diet? If not, do you recommend any particular one? Thank you. View Answer

Hagatna, Guam (GEHA Standard Option): What to do for pre-diabetic patient? What are the foods to avoid? View Answer

Miami, Florida (GEHA High Option): Good morning. I'm thinking about having back surgery. Should I be doing some kind of exercises to make my back stronger? View Answer

Kennan, Wisconsin (Connection Dental Federal (FEDVIP) High): Within the last few months I have been experiencing joint stiffness. My hands are painful and my other joints hurt from time to time. The only medication I take is for thyroid. What changes in my diet can I make to ease my discomfort? View Answer

Orlando, Florida I have MS and I’m in a wheelchair. It is hard for me to get enough exercise to drop the pounds. View Answer

Pennville, Indiana (GEHA Standard Option, Connection Dental Federal (FEDVIP) High): My husband has a severe heat rash that we have been battling for a couple of weeks. We have tried diaper rash ointments and now are trying Lotrimin Spray, but it doesn't seem to be getting better. Is there a better product that may help? He works in a furnace room. View Answer

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania What is the best way to get off the couch? Any suggestions on little things to do to get motivated? View Answer

San Antonio, Texas (GEHA Standard Option): I am a billiard player, and I notice my lower back stinging when I play a long time. What exercises do you recommend? View Answer

Aurora, Colorado (GEHA Standard Option, Connection Dental Plus): Since they are not regulated, what is the best daily vitamin supplement for someone age 60? View Answer

Grain Valley, Missouri (GEHA Standard Option): What exercises do you recommend to build muscle for females? Thank you. View Answer

Homosassa, Florida (GEHA High Option, Connection Dental Federal (FEDVIP) High): I have been having numbness or neuropathy in my middle toes. I have also been recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and take metformin HCL 250mg daily. I also take hydrochlorothiazide 12.5 MG daily and losartan potassium 25 MG daily. View Answer

Boise, Idaho I would like to get my cholesterol checked and have heard about the biometric screening that GEHA offers. Can you tell me more about this program? View Answer

Snellvie, Georgia What are some good breathing exercises? View Answer

Kansas City, Missouri (GEHA Standard Option, Connection Dental Federal (FEDVIP) Standard): I have been reading and hearing a lot about consumption of wheat, corn, barley, rye, rice products contribute to "wheat belly." I was under the assumption as long as the product was in its whole form such as whole wheat, it was probably OK. What are your thoughts on the term "wheat belly"?  Thanks. View Answer

Pierre, South Dakota (GEHA Standard Option, Connection Dental Plus): I currently suffer from both Type II Diabetes and Chronic Kidney Disease. The diets for each are mutually contradictory. To complicate matters I, also, have mild arthritis for which I've been prescribed Meloxicam , an NSAID prohibited from CKD treatment. You're best solution would be welcome. View Answer

Atlanta, Georgia I have decided to have a life style change and eat right according to the food plate - less meat, more vegetables, fruit and grains such as flax seed, quinoa, etc. Why am I not losing weight? Will this just help you maintain a healthy weight? View Answer

Berlin, Maryland (GEHA High Option, Connection Dental Plus, Connection Dental Federal (FEDVIP) High): I am a recovered victim of Guillian-Barre and I was wondering if I could now get the flu shot. I had GBS in 2005 and am now 79 years old. View Answer

Grove City, Ohio (GEHA High Option, Connection Dental Federal (FEDVIP) High): I am considering switching to a pump for insulin therapy but I know very little about the details about how they work. Can you explain the use of an insulin pump for delivery of my insulin? Thanks. View Answer

Albuquerque, New Mexico How much water should we drink every day? Does this include the water found in juices and other things we consume each day? View Answer

Salt Lake City, Utah (GEHA High Option): I am a breastfeeding mother. My question is: how do you know how many calories are enough while trying to lose weight? What would be an ideal number of calories a day to intake? View Answer

Portland, Oregon I have arthritis, and find if I do an exercise -- even swimming -- at a pace that actually makes me sweat that I’m in pain for several days after. I’m trying to find something that is a real workout but doesn’t leave me wiped out. I feel OK when I’m doing the routine -- it’s the recovery time. View Answer

San Antonio, Texas (GEHA High Option): I have been diagnosed with a rotator cuff injury in my right arm and shoulder. I have seen a sports specialist doctor, and X-rays revealed no tears. I have followed the rehab routine of exercises faithfully, and regained some strength and mobility. However, I still lack a normal range of mobility, such as being able to place my arm up behind my back. I have read about scar tissue in the shoulder as a possible factor, which may be reduced by massage therapy to improve blood flow in the area. Is this option covered by GEHA, or can you recommend additional treatment options to regain full strength and mobility? View Answer

Joplin, Missouri (GEHA HDHP Option): My son, who is getting ready to turn nine, is very athletic and is playing tackle football this year. He is very dedicated all on his own, and he wants to work out and "beef up" for football. I am thrilled that he is so into health and exercise, but should I be setting limits for him? He jogs and lifts light weights, which doesn't concern me so much, but recently he's been asking me to buy Muscle Milk for him. He is exercising a lot more than an average boy his age, but I feel like we eat pretty healthy and I see no need for supplements. I would really appreciate advice! View Answer

Long Island, New York (GEHA Standard Option): What is GEHA doing to help improve health care costs across the board to both improve cost and to improve health outcomes? Please provide some examples? View Answer

Summerton, South Carolina (GEHA Standard Option): My doctor has told me that I am pre-diabetic. She said to start a low glycemic diet. I am eating natural foods (for example: teff, quinoa, chia seeds, oak groats, buckwheat flour, cocoa nibs, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, etc.) I also eat beans, green vegetables and fruits. I use protein powder and yogurt. While eating these types of foods as a life-time change, is there any danger of having my pre-diabetes affected? View Answer

St. Paul, Minnesota At what age do you suggest children start taking vitamins? What type of vitamins are important for them to have? View Answer

Andover, Kansas (GEHA High Option, Connection Dental Plus): Hi. Since I have 38 years in a 12-step program, is there anything I can do to stop the sugar and salt cravings. They are much more pronounced when I am under stress. My weight is also creeping up, and I haven't been successful in the past with the MOVE program. I am open to any and all suggestions. Thanks in advance. View Answer

Baltimore, Maryland I have diabetes and take two different medications and I just can’t lose weight. Any suggestions? View Answer

Kamiah, Idaho (Connection Dental Federal (FEDVIP) High): Do natural no calorie sweeteners (such as Stevia) have the same health risks associated with artificial sweeteners, such as increased risk of Type 2 diabetes? View Answer

Meeker, Colorado Thank you for offering the live chat today! I was wondering if you could give an idea of the recommended amount of time/days per week a beginning/average person should lift weights per week, and to balance that what would be the ideal amount of protein a person should regularly eat to support that? View Answer

Lake City, Florida Can exercise reverse osteoporosis? If so, what exercises are best to build bones? View Answer

Washington, DC How much sleep a night should adults get to remain alert and healthy? If you get substantially less sleep for a couple of days, how can your body catch up? View Answer

Washington, DC Is the protein from meat the same as the protein from plants and nuts? How do I get good protein without the saturated fat, hormones, transfat, etc., that is in meat? View Answer

Panhandle, Texas (GEHA Standard Option): My last blood test showed high triglycerides (304). Is there something I can take besides doubling up on the statin? All other tests were normal (cholesterol and Ldl). Are statins safe to take for long periods? View Answer

Lavernia, Texas (GEHA Standard Option): I vaguely recall see something about obtaining a $75 gift card if I completed a think a survey, can you provide any clarity? View Answer

Monterey, California (Connection Dental Federal (FEDVIP) Standard): My doctor just told me I'm right on the edge of being diabetic and wants me to start cutting down on sugar and carbs. Now it seems like everything has sugar or carbs! I'm having a hard time giving up ice cream and frappuccinos! Is "no sugar added" ice cream okay? How about sugar-free frappuccinos? Or are the sugar replacements just as bad? View Answer

Davenport, Florida (GEHA Standard Option): I have been trying to lose weight for the past 8 months, and can't. I know I am doing all the right things (eating whole foods, watching added sugar content, I stopped eating meat a couple of months ago, and I exercise 6 days a week (3 days weight training slow movement for 20 mins/with 25 mins HIIT training, and 3 days 30 mins on a treadmill normal speed). I'm 72 and have type 2 diabetes and hypertension. I'm taking meds, and can't get rid of belly fat. Do you think I may have a hormone problem? I have an appointment to see an endocrinologist, hoping he can help. This is really starting to stress me out. View Answer

Pleasanton, California (GEHA HDHP Option): I have tried quitting smoking numerous times and in many years. Tried all the OTC nicotine cessation aids. What other options, tips, recommendations do I have to help with quitting successfully? View Answer

Saint Louis, Missouri (GEHA Standard Option): I went and got the biometric exam. I never got the results. View Answer

Reno, Nevada I am diabetic. Are sweet potatoes and rice something I can eat? View Answer

Mandan, North Dakota (GEHA High Option, Connection Dental Plus): I have joined Anytime Fitness in Mandan, ND. Can I be reimbursed for my fee? I paid a yearly fee. View Answer

We've run out of time for today's chat questions. Thanks for participating! If you didn't see an answer to your question, GEHA will be sending you an email in the next several days.