By Karen S. Guice, M.D., M.P.P.
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs
February is American Heart Month, and the Military Health System will celebrate the benefits of heart healthy living throughout the month. Stay heart healthy for yourself and your loved ones.
Cardiovascular Disease, CVD, including heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure, is the number one killer of men and women in the United States. About 600,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year–that’s 1 in every 4 deaths, and is also the leading cause of death for people of most ethnicities in the United States. For example, in the African American community, more than 40 percent of men and women suffer from some form of CVD.
Heart disease is often preventable, which is why we want to make sure we promote good health while knowing the warning signs. Early action is the key to preventing death and that starts with routine health screenings, preventive care, and early intervention when necessary. We provide a variety of programs, resources, and tools through Operation Live Well to help you maintain a healthy heart and decrease your risk for heart disease.
TRICARE beneficiaries, did you know that the benefit covers cardiovascular disease screenings, including periodic blood pressure and cholesterol checks? Why not take advantage of these offerings and the many free preventive services. Beneficiaries can see the full list of preventive services at www.tricare.mil/preventivecare. The Federal Employees Health Benefits, FEHB, Program can help you and your family meet your health care needs. Federal employees, retirees, and their survivors enjoy the widest selection of health plans in the country. You can find a complete list of benefits at www.opm.gov/healthcare-insurance/healthcare/.
Your lifestyle choices greatly impact your heart health. Proper exercise, sleep, nutrition, and tobacco-free living are the first steps in your journey to better heart health. Small steps can become lifelong healthy habits.