Heart health is an important part of our well-being. Since the heart works hard to keep our bodies functioning at their best, we need to show it a little extra TLC, especially as we age.
February is American Heart Month, and for the last 57 years, this month has been focused on creating awareness, education, and resources for better heart health. Heart.org explains that heart disease is the number one killer of Americans, and unfortunately the COVID-19 pandemic hasn't helped — many people have delayed or totally avoided going to the hospital for heart attacks or other cardiac episodes.
We know that leading a healthy lifestyle can be key to maintaining overall health, but stay-at-home orders have made it difficult for many people to keep up with their routines. Unhealthy behaviors such as eating poorly, drinking more alcohol, and limiting physical activity can contribute to heart disease, among other health issues. So this is the perfect time to reset some of your habits and get back on a healthy track.
Here are 5 FSA eligible ways to boost cardiac health during of American Heart Month (and beyond).
Qardio Arm Wireless Blood Pressure Monitor
The Qardio Arm Wireless Blood Pressure Monitor is a blood pressure monitor that's easy to use for daily monitoring. It measures and records systolic and diastolic blood pressure as well as heart rate readings, and it has wireless connectivity.
You probably already know that blood pressure readings are given in two numbers, but you might be wondering exactly what those two numbers mean exactly. Those numbers are the reading of your systolic and diastolic blood pressure. The Mayo Clinic provides some clarity here:
The top number is the maximum pressure your heart exerts while beating (systolic pressure)
The bottom number is the amount of pressure in your arteries between beats (diastolic pressure)
The sleek and discreet design makes it convenient to have your smart blood pressure monitor with you at all times. Manage your heart health by catching unusual trends and share information directly with your doctor.
Provides irregular heart beat detection
Wireless connection to your smartphone or tablet for simple setup
One set of batteries typically lasts one year
Three year limited warranty
LetsGetChecked Diabetes and Heart Test
Early detection of diabetes and pre-diabetes, as well as insights into cardiovascular health, provide better clinical outcomes and allow for positive lifestyle changes. LetsGetChecked Diabetes and Heart Test helps identify pre-diabetes or determine how well diabetes is being controlled following a diagnosis. People with diabetes or pre-diabetes are at greater risk of developing cardiovascular disease. One of the best ways to prevent cardiovascular diseases, such as stroke and heart attack is to keep your cholesterol at a healthy level.
This at home tests looks at a few different levels, including:
HDL (High-Density Lipoprotein)
LDL (Low-Density Lipoprotein)
% of Hemoglobin A1c
A heart scan is a medical procedure that can be done by your general physician or cardiologist and is eligible for reimbursement with flexible spending accounts (FSA), health savings accounts (HSA), and health reimbursement arrangements (HRA).
A heart scan, also known as a coronary calcium scan, checks for calcium buildup in the heart. Buildup in the heart can lead to a variety of medical problems such as chest pain, blood clots or even heart attacks. WebMD tells us, "The calcium that the scan is looking for is part of plaque. This is not the stuff you get on your teeth, but a different kind found in your arteries. It's made partly of fat and calcium, and it's not good for your heart."
This scan provides insight into how much calcified plaque is in your heart's arteries. You and your doctor can use the results to decide if you need to make any changes to your medicine or lifestyle.
Health screenings are tests that look for diseases or medical conditions based on symptoms you experience. Health screenings are considered preventative medicine since they help create early treatment plans and lead to better outcomes. They commonly help detect breast and cervical cancer, colorectal cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, osteoporosis, and prostate cancer. Other common screenings include cardiac risk assessments, STD tests, genetic testing, senior health screenings, sexual health screenings, and more.
Heart.org says, "An important aspect of lowering risk of cardiovascular disease, also called coronary artery disease (CAD), is managing health behaviors and risk factors, such as diet quality, physical activity, smoking, body mass index (BMI), blood pressure, total cholesterol or blood glucose. But how do you know which risk factors you have? Your healthcare provider may conduct or request screening tests during regular visits."
Here are some of the screening tests done when it comes to monitoring cardiovascular health:
Fasting Lipoprotein Profile (cholesterol)
Smoking, physical activity, diet
Health screenings are eligible for reimbursement with a flexible spending account (FSA), health savings account (HSA), or a health reimbursement arrangement (HRA).
Calcium scoring is a heart scan that checks for calcium (plaque) buildup in the heart. "Plaque buildup in the heart can lead to a variety of medical problems such as chest pain, blood clots or even heart attacks," WebMD explains.
A calcium scoring scan allows your doctor to see if a buildup of plaque has accumulated in the heart. Then you and your doctor can work together to figure out a plan of action. Just like heart scans and health screenings, calcium scoring, or coronary calcium scanning, is also eligible for reimbursement with flexible spending accounts (FSA), health savings accounts (HSA) and health reimbursement arrangements (HRA).
Bonus: Bayer Low Dose 'Baby' Aspirin
Aspirin is known to protect your heart by keeping your blood flowing freely. John Hopkins Medicine states, "Taking a regular dose of aspirin diminishes the ability of your blood to clump together into clots by targeting the body's smallest blood cells. Called platelets, they bind together when they encounter damaged blood vessels."
This means, in some cases, low-dose aspirin can prevent heart attack and stroke, but it's not made for everyone! Be sure to speak with your doctor to see if you would benefit from the heart health advantages of low-dose aspirin.
Take control of your heart health
With all the knowledge and advances we have at our disposal when it comes to heart health, it's easy to make every month 'heart month.' FSAStore.com has many options to help boost cardiac health, plus some eligible preventative measures, to keep your heart happy and pumping.
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