Cardiac Treatment: FSA Eligibility
Under IRC 213(d)(1), "medical care includes amounts paid for the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease, or for the purpose of affecting any structure or function of the body." This includes medical equipment, supplies and devices.
What is heart disease?
Heart disease, also commonly referred to as cardiovascular disease, encompasses a wide range of potential ailments, including blood vessel diseases, heart rhythm problems, congenital heart defects and other conditions that affect the heart's muscle, valves or rhythm. However, most often heart disease is associated with plaque buildup that causes a narrowing or blockage of blood vessels that can lead to heart attacks, chest pain, strokes and other major medical issues (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute).
Cardiac treatment refers to any series of medical procedures, techniques and lifestyle changes that are associated with improving an individual's overall heart health. Heart disease remains the leading cause of death in the U.S. annually, accounting for 610,000 deaths each year or 1 in 4 adults, so it is clearly the top health issue that faces Americans today.
What are the primary forms of cardiac treatment?
In the absence of birth defects and other heart abnormalities, heart disease is largely tied to an individual's lifestyle choices that can begin to take a toll over the years. As such, cardiac treatment is an umbrella term for both the steps that a patient can take to reduce his/her risk of heart disease, as well as the steps he/she can take after a major heart issue has arisen. These treatment methods include via Mayo Clinic:
Preventing cardiovascular diseases is largely tied to the health choices that individuals make in their 20s, 30s and 40s that will predicate how effective their heart's function will be later in life. The American Heart Association's key recommendations include quitting smoking, maintaining a healthy weight/physical activity level, reducing stress levels and eating a healthy diet with foods low in saturated fat, trans fat and sodium. Whether these steps are taken before or after a major cardiac event, anyone at any age can benefit from these positive heart health changes.
If lifestyle changes aren't enough, there's a variety of medications designed for cardiac treatment that target specific issues related to an individual's heart health. Some examples of medications for heart disease include cholesterol-modifying medications that decrease the amount of cholesterol in the blood that can contribute to blood vessel blockages, aspirin as a blood thinner to prevent future heart attacks, beta blockers to decrease blood pressure/slow heart rate and nitroglycerin to alleviate chest pain by dilating coronary arteries to reduce the heart's demand for blood.
In some cases, more aggressive treatment is needed in the form of surgical procedures to treat cardiac issues like blood vessel and arterial blockages. Two of the most common are angioplasty and coronary artery bypass surgery. Angioplasty involves placing a long, thin tube into the narrowed part of an artery that is then inflated to compress the blockage, and then a stent is placed in the artery to keep it open to improve blood flow and decrease the risk of heart future heart attacks. Coronary artery bypass surgery is much more serious and involves open heart surgery to remove a vessel from another part of the body to allow blood to flow around the blocked and narrowed coronary artery.