This guest post is provided by Danielle Roberts. Danielle is a Medicare expert and co-founder at
Heart Disease is one of the leading causes of death for people over age 65 in America. Throughout your adult life, you have probably seen a number of information campaigns about preventing heart disease. Fortunately, once you enroll in Medicare, there are a number of preventive services that you can take advantage of that will help you stay healthy and avoid heart disease.
Your doctor may also conduct cardiac stress testing to look for changes in your heart around the time of exercise that point to blockages in your arteries. Medicare will cover the stress testing if you are exhibiting symptoms that are indicative of heart disease, such as shortness of breath or chest pain.
Heart disease has long been linked to smoking. Medicare recognizes that quitting a lifelong smoking habit is no small chore. That’s why Medicare will pay for up to eight smoking-cessation counseling sessions per year to help you kick the habit. Sometimes your physician may also prescribe nicotine patches to aid you in your efforts to quit tobacco for good.
The American Diabetes Association estimates that over 12 million seniors have diabetes, and some of them may not even know it. A diagnosis of diabetes means that you are at an elevated risk for heart disease. Insulin resistance can cause high blood pressure and damaged blood vessels. Many people with diabetes have elevated cholesterol levels as well.
Medicare may provide a free diabetes screening for you. If you have a risk factor such as obesity or high blood pressure, blood sugar or cholesterol, Medicare will provide up to two diabetes screenings per year. This screening can help your doctor determine if you have diabetes or pre-diabetes so that you can take active steps to lower your risk.
People with prediabetes may also qualify for Medicare’s diabetes prevention program. This program offers 16 sessions in a group setting to help you learn healthy habits.
It’s also helpful to know that if you are diagnosed with diabetes, Medicare offers excellent coverage for
Your Medicare doctor can refer you to nutrition therapy services if you have diabetes or kidney disease. People who have had a kidney transplant can also qualify in the three years following their kidney transplant procedure.
Medical nutrition therapy (MNT) provided by
If you have been diagnosed with heart disease or another chronic condition like diabetes, Medicare offers disease management programs to help you improve your health. The Chronic Disease Self-Management Programs were developed by Stanford University and involve six weeks of workshops that will help you learn to manage your condition and improve your overall quality of life. Lowering your health care costs is also a goal of these programs.
Throughout your six-week program, you will learn about topics like managing your medications, eating for health, maintaining your strength and flexibility, and how to communicate with your physicians.
As you can see, Medicare offers a number of ways to use preventive care and screenings to help you be healthy over the long run and prevent heart disease. Be sure to ask your doctor whether these screenings might be right for you.