February is American Heart Month. Are You Keeping Yours Healthy?

February brings visions of hearts, Valentines and the special people in our lives. For those special people, and for yourself, it’s a good time to take stock of the condition of your heart, physically as well as emotionally.

According to the American Heart Association, heart disease kills an estimated 630,000 Americans each year. It’s the leading cause of death for both men and women. Your risk for developing heart disease increases if you are:

  • A woman age 55 or older
  • A man age 45 or older
  • From a family with a history of early heart disease

While you can’t control your age or family history, there are some heart disease risks that you can control. Changing unhealthy lifestyle behaviors, such as smoking, eating high-fat foods and lack of physical activity, can reduce your risk. You can also reduce your risk by managing any conditions that increase risk, such as high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol and triglycerides, and diabetes.

And your Medicare plan can help.

Use Your Medicare Preventive Services Benefit

Medicare covers many preventive services that can help keep you and your heart healthy. Preventive services can help detect health problems early when they can be treated most effectively. These services can also help keep you from getting certain diseases, such as the flu. And most of these services cost you nothing out-of-pocket, as long as your doctor accepts assignment.

  • Welcome to Medicare and Yearly Wellness Visits: When you first join Medicare and enroll in Part B, and every 12 months after that, you are entitled to a preventive care visit with your doctor. At the visit, you and your doctor review your medical and family health history. Together, you develop or review your personalized prevention plan. The plan (a sort of checklist) includes screenings, shots and other recommendations your doctor suggests to help you stay healthy.
  • Preventive services for heart health: Among the many preventive services that Medicare covers, you can have your blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels checked every five years. Other covered preventive services that help reduce your heart disease risk include diabetes screenings and self-management training, medical nutrition therapy and smoking cessation counseling.

Take Advantage of Any Extras Your Medicare Plan Offers

In addition to the basic preventive services benefit you get with Original Medicare, many Medicare Advantage plans offer extra programs and services to help you stay healthy. These may include:

  • Wellness programs to help you assess your health risks, identify ways to reduce your risks and put what you learn into practice.
  • Smoking cessation programs to help you quit.
  • Fitness programs and discounts on gym memberships to help you get and stay active.
  • Nutrition and health coaching to help you follow a healthy diet, manage stress and improve your overall well-being.
  • Disease management programs to help you live well with chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes and others.

–This information was provided by Medicare Made Clear

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