High blood pressure is one of the most common health issues, and it becomes increasingly common with age. Around 75 million people in the United States suffer from high blood pressure, almost half of whom do not have their condition under control. High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, significantly increases the risk of many other health conditions, such as heart attacks, strokes, heart failure, artery damage, dementia, kidney failure, eye damage, and much more.
Hypertension is known as the “silent killer” because its negative side effects often go unnoticed until significant damage has already been done. Because of this, it is critical to monitor for hypertension and take steps to lower it if your blood pressure is high. Prevention techniques can include weight loss, medication use, and the use of hand grip devices, such as the Zona Plus. While hand grip devices can be effective, their use is generally not covered for Medicare recipients.
What is Zona Plus and How Does it Work?
The Zona Plus is a software-controlled device that works to lower blood pressure through handgrip therapy. Due to the technology used in this device, it can personalize therapy sessions based on your maximal grip strength. For maximal results, you should complete one session a day, five days a week.
When using the device, you will begin each therapy session by squeezing the grip as hard as you can with each hand. This will establish a baseline grip strength for that day’s session. Then, you will complete a 12-minute session that involves alternating hands every two minutes for a total of three two-minute sets on each hand.
These two-minute sets are designed and monitored by the device, meaning that you must simply follow the directions provided by the device as to how hard to squeeze the handle throughout the therapy session. Each daily session will be different based on your grip strength that day.
As you continue to use the Zona Plus, you will note decreased blood pressure as well as increased grip strength. The Zona Plus serves as an isometric exercise, meaning that you are contracting and strengthening the muscles without moving them through an active range of motion.
Isometric exercises have been shown to calm the fight-or-flight response, which is activated by sympathetic nervous system. This response constricts blood vessels, increases heart rate and breathing rate, and dilates the pupils. All of these cause an increase in blood pressure. By reducing sympathetic nervous system activation, isometric exercises can lower blood pressure by dilating blood vessels and reducing the workload placed on the heart.
Does Medicare Cover Zona Plus?
Medicare does offer some treatments for hypertension depending on the specific case. However, Medicare recipients are often not eligible to receive coverage for Zona Plus devices. These devices are not deemed medically-necessary and are therefore not eligible for Medicare coverage. While these tools can effectively lower high blood pressure, they are not commonly used to do so, and other treatment methods are often preferred.
If you do suffer from high blood pressure, there are alternative methods that can be covered by Medicare. One of the most common of these is the use of medications. While Original Medicare does not cover medications, a stand alone Part D Prescription Drug Plan (PDP) or Medicare Advantage plan with prescription drug coverage can help cover the cost of prescriptions that are highly effective at reducing blood pressure levels.
Additionally, blood pressure can be regulated by lifestyle changes, such as weight loss, dietary choices, smoking cessation, stress reduction, and others. Medicare Part B will cover an annual wellness exam and any medically necessary tests or treatments required to manage a condition causing high blood pressure. Part B also includes therapy and counseling sessions for smoking, weight loss, and more. These treatments may require that you pay your premium payment, deductible, and 20 percent of the Medicare-approved amount. If you are admitted into an inpatient facility, like a hospital, blood pressure treatments will be covered by Medicare Part A, requiring you to pay only your annual deductible.