Health awareness

Getting to the Heart of Helen’s Health Condition

Humana Member and Health Educator

When Helen, a Humana member, needed surgery to remove a Baker’s cyst behind her knee, her orthopedic surgeon suggested that she lose weight in advance. According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, being able to move around more easily makes a big difference in recovery from knee surgery.

Before her surgery, Helen went to her local Humana Neighborhood Center in Covington, Kentucky, to meet with Lauryl, a Humana health educator. Health educators like Lauryl share educational information to help people on their journey to better health.

Helen set up a one-on-one meeting with Lauryl to discuss her personal health goals and help determine steps she could take to reach those goals. During that conversation, Helen shared that she was having difficulty with exercise and moving around. Helen said some of it was from knee pain, but some of it was from shortness of breath and swelling in the legs.

Helen said, “I have seen a number of doctors lately in preparation for the surgery, but none of them seem concerned with the difficulty I have with exercise, mobility or physical activity.”

Lauryl encouraged Helen to reach out to her cardiologist or her primary care doctor to ask additional questions and present the specific symptoms that Helen had discussed during their one-on-one session. 

Four days later, Helen called Lauryl to say she had spoken with her doctor who ordered laboratory tests. The test results came back abnormal. Helen’s doctor diagnosed her with congestive heart failure, which had not been previously identified or addressed. Helen’s doctor started her on medications right away. 

“Helen still comes into the Center and is adamant that Humana saved her life,” said Lauryl.

Helen often reports that she is scared to think of how much longer her condition could have gone untreated or how much worse it may have become. Her family has rallied behind her and accompanies her to doctor's appointments now so they don't miss anything.

Having lost 18 pounds in water weight, Helen is able to exercise without getting short of breath. She says that her knees still bother her some, but that her feet don't swell anymore. Losing the water weight reduced her pain so much that Helen doesn’t plan to have surgery at this time.

“Helen went from not being able to really walk around the neighborhood to being able to consistently improve the distance she can walk,” said Lauryl. “Now Helen has enrolled in the Neighborhood Center blood pressure control series to learn the actions she can take to continue to improve her health.”


Looking for more information on ways to manage your health or become more active? Check out in-person and online events at your Humana Neighborhood Center.

Your results may vary. It may not be typical to improve health conditions by taking the actions Helen did.