Our health advice is to simply take care of yourself and get your tests when recommended.
Two Medicare preventative tests can help and is the best Medicare advice.
How many times have you said “Take care of yourself” to a friend when you part? It may be a cliché, but it tells the friend you care about his or her wellbeing. What does it mean when Medicare.gov says it? It means the system has ways to help you stay healthy – if you participate.
Two ways that Medicare helps you to stay healthy are bone density tests and breast cancer screening. These are available to Medicare members at no cost. Here’s the scoop:
Bone density exam
That fancy word – osteoporosis – means that, if you have it, your bones can weaken or break. You are no doubt familiar with a senior who has fallen and broken a hip. Did you know that it is not always the fall that breaks the bone(s)? The bone(s) may break first and cause the fall.
A bone density test is a measurement of your bone mass. It’s a very easy test: you just lie there and the machine does the work.
Medicare Part B covers a bone density test once every two years at no cost. Your doctor can give you a prescription.
Meanwhile, prevention (and cure) of osteoporosis has two requirements: exercise and calcium. The kinds of exercises that keep bones strong include aerobics, stair climbing, sports like tennis, dancing, walking, and yoga. Weight lifting is also good. If you don’t have free weights, lift canned vegetables.
Calcium builds strong bones. Yes, this means kale and broccoli. Also, calcium is found in salmon or tuna, cheese, eggs, and any food that is “fortified,” like cereal, milk, or OJ.
If you haven’t had a bone density in two years, put it on your calendar now!
Breast cancer screening
It is extremely important to catch breast cancer at an early stage. It is fortunate that Medicare Part B covers screening – also known as a mammogram – every year at no cost. If you have a “clean” report, you will have peace of mind. If cancer is detected, you will be treated with the goal of getting rid of it.
Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death by cancer in the U.S. So, mammograms are a critical part of ensuring your health. And, don’t forget, men can get breast cancer, as well.
For further information on breast cancer screening, visit: Breast Cancer Screening and Prevention
Take care of yourself – with Medicare’s help!