Medicare & You: Stroke Awareness Month
Hi, I’m Angela at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. May is Stroke Awareness month, and the perfect time to share some important information with you about stroke awareness. About 795,000 people in the United States have a stroke each year–that’s about one person every 40 seconds. Strokes are the fifth leading cause of death in our country and a major cause of serious disability for adults. A stroke happens when the blood supply to part of the brain is blocked, or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts, causing damage to a part of the brain. People who have high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, or who smoke, are at a higher risk for stroke. The good news is that Medicare can help– Medicare covers screening tests to help detect conditions that may lead to a heart attack or stroke. Specifically, Medicare covers screening blood tests for cholesterol, lipid, and triglyceride levels every 5 years, when ordered by a doctor. And – you pay nothing for the tests unless your doctor or other health care provider recommends you get services more often than Medicare covers them, or if they recommend services Medicare doesn’t cover. In that case, you may have to pay some or all of those costs. In addition to getting screened, there are steps you can take to lower your risk for stroke. Remember, your risk for stroke is higher if you have high blood pressure or diabetes. High blood pressure usually has no symptoms, so be sure to have yours checked regularly. Talk to your health care team about how often you should check your blood pressure. And, if your doctor thinks you have symptoms of diabetes, he or she may recommend that you get tested. Medicare covers screenings to check for diabetes. You may be eligible for 2 diabetes screenings each year. You pay nothing for these tests. If you have diabetes, check your blood sugars regularly. Medicare covers some diabetes testing supplies and outpatient diabetes self-management training to teach you to cope with and manage your diabetes. To learn more about your Medicare benefits, check out other videos in our Medicare & You video series on YouTube, or visit Medicare.gov.