February is nationally recognized as American Heart Month, a time for the Department of Defense community to show its love for healthy living.
February is nationally recognized as American Heart Month, a time for the Department of Defense community to show its love for healthy living.

Taking care of your heart with TRICARE benefits

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Are you ready for Heart Health Month? This is the time to listen to – and take care of – your heart. You can do so by getting familiar with the risk factors of heart disease and taking action to reduce your risk.

One simple way to lower your risk for heart disease is to visit your doctor regularly. TRICARE covers cardiovascular disease screenings, including blood pressure and cholesterol checks. For men age 65 to 75 who have ever smoked, TRICARE covers a one-time abdominal aortic aneurysm screening to screen for cardiovascular disease. During a Health Promotion and Disease Prevention exam, TRICARE also covers Type 2 diabetes screening for those who have high blood pressure and adults between the ages of 40 and 70 who are overweight or obese. Getting preventive screenings now could save your life tomorrow.

What is Heart Disease?

Heart disease is the term used to refer to several types of problems affecting the heart. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S., responsible for 610,000 deaths per year. Coronary artery disease, which is caused by plaque buildup in the heart’s blood vessels, is the most common type of heart disease and causes most heart attacks. You can also learn more about heart health by visiting the CDC website.

Every year, nearly 800,000 Americans have a heart attack. It’s important to know the warning signs and symptoms of a heart attack. If you think you’re having a heart attack, waiting to get help can cause damage to your heart and may be life-threatening. Call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room immediately. If you aren’t sure how TRICARE covers emergency care or urgent care, learn the difference and the rules for your TRICARE plan. 

Heart Disease Risk Factors

You can’t change some risk factors, such as age and family history. But there are some risk factors you can do something about, including: 

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • High glucose levels
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes

Take Command of Your Health

You can decrease your risk for developing heart disease. During Heart Health Month, pay attention to your heart and give it the care it deserves. Start by eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, limiting alcohol, and giving up smoking. Your doctor can also help you determine your level of risk and suggest changes to help improve your heart health. Remember, cardiovascular disease screenings are part of your TRICARE benefit. Don’t delay seeing your doctor.

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