High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, can be hard to detect until it causes more serious health issues like a heart attack or heart disease. If you have a family history of high blood pressure, you may be even more concerned about getting a blood pressure screening and how you’re going to pay for it. Fortunately, Original Medicare covers blood pressure screenings during your preventive and yearly wellness visits. Learn more about high blood pressure and Medicare coverage.
Symptoms of High Blood Pressure
If your blood pressure is extremely high, the high blood pressure symptoms to look out for include:
- Severe headaches
- Fatigue or confusion
- Vision problems
- Chest pain
- Difficulty breathing
- Irregular heartbeat
- Blood in the urine
- Pounding in your chest, neck, or ears
What to Expect for Your Blood Pressure Test
It’s common to get a blood pressure test at routine doctor appointments, but there are also ways to do a blood pressure test at home and at some pharmacies. While there’s not much you have to do to prepare for a blood pressure test, you could consider wearing a short sleeve shirt so that the blood pressure cuff can be placed more easily around your arm.
During the test, the blood pressure cuff is wrapped around the top part of your arm. The cuff is inflated to squeeze your arm and from there your pulse is measured. The entire test takes about one minute.
Blood pressure is measured by millimeters of mercury (mm Hg), and the measurement has two numbers. The top number is the pressure of blood flow when your heart muscle contracts to pump blood. The bottom number is the pressure measured between heartbeats. It is considered elevated blood pressure if your top number is between 120 and 129, and your bottom number is below 80. Blood pressure numbers of less than 120 over 80 mm Hg are considered within the normal range.
How to Treat High Blood Pressure
While there are medications to treat high blood pressure, there are several lifestyle adjustments that can help lower your blood pressure, including:
- Eating a heart-healthy diet with less salt
- Getting regular physical activity
- Maintaining healthy weight or losing weight if overweight
- Limiting your alcohol intake
Medications That Treat High Blood Pressure
There are a variety of medications that can help treat high blood pressure, and oftentimes doctors will often test different medications until they find the right one for each patient (sometimes it can be a combination of medications). The goal of blood pressure treatment varies by age and health condition, especially if you’re older than 65.
It is crucial to consult with your doctor(s) and healthcare providers when determining what prescriptions are right for you, but common medications that treat high blood pressure include:
- Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors
- Angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs)
- Calcium channel blockers
Does Medicare cover high blood pressure medication?
Unfortunately, Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) does not usually cover medication to treat high blood pressure. While Medicare Part B offers some prescription drug coverage, it has limited coverage of most drugs for chronic conditions, including high blood pressure. Learn more about Medicare Part B.
Medicare Advantage and Medicare Prescription Drug Plans (Medicare Part D), which are sold by private insurers, are often able to help cover the cost of high blood pressure medications. Most high blood pressure medications are covered under Medicare Prescription Drug plans, which can be purchased as stand-alone plans that go alongside your healthcare coverage.
A Medicare Advantage plan often combines the coverage of Medicare Part A, Part B and Part D, but you’ll still want to double check that your plan will cover any prescription medications you have. Both Medicare Advantage and Medicare Prescription Drug plans vary by where you live and the type of plan you buy. You’ll want to check the list of prescription drugs that each plan covers to ensure yours is right for you.
SelectQuote Medicare Options for High Blood Pressure
It can be hard to sort through all of the Medicare options available, especially when you need certain treatments and medications covered. At SelectQuote, we’ll listen to your healthcare needs and can shop some of the most trusted carriers to find you Medicare coverage that works for your needs and budget.