Senior Citizen's Guide to Cleveland 2013 Vol. 1 - page 33

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people to “know their numbers.” Medicare members,
including those with Anthem’s Medicare Advantage
(MA) plans, can get their blood pressure checked at no
cost during their “Welcome to Medicare” exam or “An-
nual Wellness Visit.” Additionally, physicians may want
their patients to take their blood pressure between
doctor’s visits and record it. This can be done at home,
at a grocery store or at the pharmacy.
Blood pressure is measured with a cuff using two
numbers. The first, or top (systolic), number repre-
sents the pressure in blood vessels as the heart beats.
The second, or bottom (diastolic), number represents
the pressure in the vessels as the heart rests between
beats. Readings greater than 120 over 80 are consid-
ered to be pre-hypertensive, while readings greater
than 140 over 90 are considered to be hypertensive.
Once someone is diagnosed with pre-hypertension
or hypertension, there are a number of actions they
can take lower their blood pressure. Medicare or MA
plans cover many of these measures (although premi-
ums, copayments and coinsurance may apply) includ-
ing the following:
Eat right.
A healthy diet, including avoidance of
salt, alcohol and caffeine, can result in modest im-
provements in blood pressure. Less than 25 percent
of Americans consume five or more servings of fruits
and vegetables daily. People with high blood pressure
should eat more fruits and vegetables and fewer sodi-
um-laden processed foods. Nutrition counseling from
a registered dietician is available through Medicare for
those with hypertension and certain related conditions,
including kidney disease and diabetes.
Get exercise.
According to the CDC, as many as
34 percent of adults aged 65 to 74 are inactive, mean-
ing they engage in no leisure-time physical activity.
Thankfully, it’s never too late to get started. Many MA
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