Heart Health and Your Benefits

Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of women as well as men in the United States. February is American Heart Month, encouraging us all to learn more about our heart health. Let’s discuss a little about heart health and how your employer-sponsored benefit accounts may help.

Women’s Heart Health

Quick facts you need to know from the American Heart Association:

  • Heart disease kills more women than all forms of cancer combined.
  • Nearly 45% of women 20 years and up are living with some form of cardiovascular disease, leading to it being the number one killer of new moms.
  • Cardiovascular risk factors may accelerate during menopause.

Men’s Heart Health

Quick facts you need to know from WebMD:

  • Men get heart disease an average of ten years sooner than women. Common early warning signs include erectile dysfunction and low testosterone levels.
  • Men are more prone to stress and anger issues that elevate blood pressure and raise the risk of heart disease.
  • Within the first two hours after an angry outburst, men are five times more likely to have a heart attack and three times more likely to have a stroke.

What can we do to maintain or improve our heart health?

The American Heart Association shares eight things we can do to prevent heart disease and stroke:

  • Know your risk factors
  • Eat healthy
  • Get (or stay) active
  • Manage your weight
  • Don’t smoke, but if you do, quit
  • Manage your chronic conditions
  • Take your medications as directed
  • Be proactive in talking with your healthcare team

How can my employer-sponsored benefits help?

Lifestyle Spending Accounts

If you need help eating healthy and staying active, see if your company offers a Lifestyle Spending Account (LSA). Depending on the employer’s discretion, these accounts can pay for such efforts to live more healthily as cooking classes, food delivery services, gym memberships, fitness equipment, and more.

Flexible Spending, Health Savings, and Health Reimbursement Accounts

You may need to investigate your heart disease risk factors. Genetic testing may qualify as an eligible expense for your FSA, HSA, or HRA account when accompanied by a Letter of Medical Necessity.

Do you need to quit smoking but can’t do it alone? Turn to your CDH accounts to buy nicotine gum or patches. If you need even more help, you may be able to use your accounts to pay for smoking cessation classes or therapies.

Chronic conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes must be managed to minimize their effects on your heart health. While that may start with simply doctor visits, you may also need medications and tools such as blood pressure monitors and glucometers. The good news is that these products and services are often eligible for payment or reimbursement by consumer-directed healthcare accounts.

And finally, even if you don’t have a chronic condition, it’s still critical for heart health to stay on top of routine annual screenings. The sooner a condition is diagnosed, the more effectively it can be managed or treated. Delayed healthcare may lead to more significant health and financial challenges.

Heart Health is Good Health

Maintaining and improving heart health is so vital for men and women alike. Taking the necessary steps can be more affordable when you use your employer-sponsored benefit accounts.

DataPath Administrative Services has provided Arkansas employers with comprehensive third-party employee benefits administration and compliance services since 1996. Please enter your email (above right) to receive notifications about new blog articles as they are published.