US Family Health Plan eNews 2023: Issue 2

Posted 05/16/23
patient getting blood pressure taken lead image

For more of eNews Member Newsletter


  • High Blood Pressure Basics
  • Living with Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes?
  • Health and Wellness Resources Are Just a Click Away
  • Prenatal Vitamins Protect Your Baby’s (and Your) Best Health
  • On a Statin Medication? Always Take as Directed!
  • Chlamydia Can Cause Long-Term Health Problems
  • Cervical Cancer
  • 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline: Where to Get Help
  • story divider

    High Blood Pressure Basics

    What You Should Know

    High blood pressure (also called hypertension) is when the force of blood pushing against the blood vessel walls is consistently too high. A blood pressure reading of 140/90 or greater is considered high. Nearly half of US adults have high blood pressure. It is considered a silent killer because often high blood pressure, itself, will lack any symptoms, but it can significantly raise the risk for heart attacks, strokes, and many other conditions. It’s important to have your blood pressure checked regularly and to take steps to lower your blood pressure if it’s too high.

    Risk Factors
    Behaviors you can influence
  • Inactive lifestyle, including lots of sitting
  • Tobacco use
  • Diet high in salt (sodium)
  • Alcohol (more than 1 drink for women and 2 drinks for men daily)
  • Stress
  • Medical conditions
  • Kidney Disease-hypertension can be caused from or cause kidney disease
  • Obesity
  • Uncontrollable risk factors
  • Family history
  • Age: Risk increases with age
  • Gender: Under age 64, men are more likely to have high blood pressure than women
  • Race: Hypertension is more common in African Americans

  • Managing High Blood Pressure
    There are many things you can do to help manage your blood pressure. Making changes to your lifestyle is the first step and include:
  • Cutting back on your salt intake
  • Quitting smoking
  • Limiting your alcohol intake
  • Reducing stress
  • Staying physically active
  • Monitoring your blood pressure at home

  • Medications
    Make sure to take any medications as your doctor has prescribed to get the most benefit. Create a follow-up plan so your doctor can determine if the medication is working and let your doctor know if you experience any new symptoms. Below are some commonly prescribed blood-pressure-lowering medication classes.
  • Diuretics
  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and Angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs)
  • Calcium channel blockers
  • Reducing stress
  • Beta-blockers

  • Learn more about how to manage high blood pressure and how each of these types of medications works.

    For more information and statistics visit: High Blood Pressure |

    story divider

    Living with Diabetes?

    Optimize your health and wellness!

    Understanding Diabetes
    Diabetes is a lifelong, chronic condition where there is not enough insulin in the body to effectively help with digestion. Food is broken down during digestion into sugar (glucose). Insulin helps change the sugar and starches into energy that the body needs through the day. Without enough insulin, glucose builds up in the blood and is indicative of diabetes. High blood sugar can harm many parts of the body, such as the eyes, heart, blood vessels, nerves, and kidneys. It can also increase your risk for other health problems and complications. 

    There are two types of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition where the body does not produce any insulin. Type 2 diabetes is when the pancreas cannot make enough insulin, or the body has problems using the insulin.

    Making Healthy Lifestyle Choices
    Managing diabetes begins with making healthy lifestyle choices, including the following
  • Take your medication as your doctor directed
  • Do health checks at home and know the signs your condition is getting worse
  • Know your goal blood sugars
  • Know how to treat low and high blood sugars
  • Keep active and maintain a healthy weight
  • Pay attention to your feet

  • The American Diabetes Association goals for blood sugar (your doctor’s targets for you may differ):
  • Before meals: 80-130mg/dl
  • 1-2 hours after meals: Below 180mg/dl

  • Management and Treatment by Your Provider
    The diagnosis of diabetes can come with many unknowns and concerns about what to do next. Your provider will tell you how often they would like to see you to monitor your diabetes. At a minimum you should have yearly monitoring of the following:
  • Annual physical exam: This is the most important visit of the year. This is a visit for you to update your personalized prevention plan and discuss any chronic conditions and monitoring needs.
  • Hemoglobin A1c: This blood test gives a picture of your average blood sugar level over the past two to three months. The American Diabetes Association recommends an A1c below 8.
  • Kidney disease: Your provider can monitor your kidney health with yearly blood work and urine test. Kidney disease is a common complication of diabetes, especially in those with higher A1c levels.
  • Hypertension: Hypertension is when your blood pressure remains consistently above 140/90. Often your doctor will prescribe medications and monitoring to lower your blood pressure.
  • Retinopathy: Retinopathy is an eye disease where the retina develops a hole and can lead to blindness. A yearly dilated-eye exam is recommended for all patients with diabetes.
  • Neuropathy: Diabetes can cause circulation problems and nerve damage in your legs and feet called neuropathy. Make sure to have regular foot exams during your annual exam or diabetic visit.
  • Check out our Diabetes Wellness Guide on our website for more self-care tips and care management support available through your Martin’s Point US Family Health Plan.

    For more information and statistics visit: What is diabetes? | CDC

    story divider

    Health and Wellness Resources

    Just a Click Away

    We’ve recently updated our online Health and Wellness pages to help you learn about important health topics and take steps to protect your and your family’s best health: 

  • Heart Health – learn about cardiovascular health conditions and how to best protect your health.
  • Women’s Health and Wellness – learn about women’s health conditions and important preventive screenings.
  • Pediatric Health and Wellness – find physical and mental health topics related to children and adolescents.
  • Men’s Health and Wellness – learn about men’s health conditions and important preventive screenings.
  • story divider

    Prenatal Vitamins

    Protect Your Baby’s (and Your) Best Health

    Taking specially-formulated vitamins before and during your pregnancy is one important way you can take good care of yourself and your baby. Prenatal (before birth) vitamins are known to help prevent neural tube defects in developing babies and they provide moms with the iron they need to prevent anemia and decrease nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. U.S. Preventive Services Task Force guidelines recommend that all women who are planning or capable of pregnancy take a daily supplement containing 0.4 to 0.8 mg of folic acid (Grade A recommendation). 

    Several prescription prenatal multivitamins for those who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant are included in the TRICARE pharmacy benefit and do not require prior authorization. These preferred prenatal vitamins include:

  • Prenatal Vitamins Plus Low I
  • Prenatal Plus
  • Preplus
  • Prenatal
  • Prenatal Vitamins
  • Prenatal Multi plus DHA
  • Prenatal Vitamin plus Low Iron
  • Prenatal Plus DHA
  • Non-preferred prenatal vitamins which would be covered with prior authorization include: Azesco, Zalvit, Trinaz, Neonatal-DHA, Neonatal FE, and Neonatal Complete.

    With a prescription from your provider, the preferred prenatal vitamins are covered at your Martin’s Point Mail Order Pharmacy. Please check the TRICARE Formulary Search tool for copay information. 

    story divider

    On a Statin Medication?

    Always Take as Directed!

    Statins are medications that reduce cholesterol and studies have shown that they can reduce the risk of heart attacks and stroke by ~20-25%. One of the best things you can do for your health is to take your statin (and all your medications) as prescribed by your doctor. Taking the right dose, at the right time, and in the right way ensures that you get the most benefit from your medications. Doing this, along with other lifestyle changes recommended by your doctor, can help prevent complications of heart disease such as heart attack and stroke.

    Here are some tips to help you continue to take your medications correctly:
  • Know why you are taking the medications.
  • Keep your medications where you will notice them and set a daily routine to take them.
  • Use a pill organizer, calendar, or smartphone app to remind you to take your medications.
  • Talk with your doctor if would like to request a 90-day supply of your medications.

  • Don’t let barriers get in the way of taking your medications.
    It is very important that you let your doctor know if you are not taking your medications as directed. Tell them if costs or side effects are a challenge, if you are having trouble remembering to take your medication, if you are having trouble getting refills at your pharmacy, or if you are unsure when the best time to take your medications is.

    We’re here for you!
    We want to make sure you have the information and support you need to take your medications correctly. Be sure to talk with your doctor or pharmacist about any concerns. Please note: It can take up to 14 days to receive your order from our Martin’s Point Mail-Order Pharmacy.

    story divider

    Chlamydia Can Cause Long-Term Health Problems

    Annual screening is recommended for sexually active women aged 16-25 years and those with risk factors.

    Chlamydia is the most reported sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the US and, if left untreated, it can cause long-term health problems in women including difficulty getting pregnant. Chlamydia is a bacteria that can be transmitted during vaginal, oral, or anal sex.  Infections can occur in the mouth, reproductive organs, urethra, and/or rectum. In women, the most common infection site is the cervix (the opening of the uterus). Chlamydia can lie inactive in the body for many years without symptoms. It could potentially flare up and cause a symptomatic infection if you have another illness.

    These factors increase the risk of getting chlamydia:
  • Having a new or multiple sexual partner(s). The risk is higher with a new/multiple sexual partner(s), but you could still carry the bacteria without having new/multiple partner(s) because the bacteria can lie dormant for many years.
  • Having a sexual partner who has more than one sexual partner
  • Having sex with someone who has an STI
  • Having an STI now or in the past
  • Not using condoms consistently when not in a mutually monogamous relationship
  • Exchanging sex for money or drugs

  • Chlamydia usually doesn’t cause symptoms. When symptoms do occur, they may appear from a few days to several weeks after infection. They may be very mild and can be mistaken for a urinary tract or vaginal infection. The most common symptoms in women include:
  • Yellow discharge from the vagina or urethra
  • Painful or frequent urination
  • Vaginal bleeding between periods
  • Rectal bleeding, discharge, or pain

  • Testing
    A chlamydia test can be done on a urine sample or on samples taken with a swab from the vagina, mouth, throat, rectum, or cervix. A yearly screening test is recommended for sexually active women 16 to 25 years old and for women 25 years or older who have one or more risk factors listed above. This routine preventive screening is painless and is a covered benefit.

    Treatment for chlamydia can include a course of antibiotics. As soon as you find out that you have chlamydia, tell your sex partner(s) so they can also be tested and treated. Experts recommend that you tell everyone you've had sex with in the past two months. If you haven't had sex in the past two months, contact the last person you had sex with. Chlamydia can be passed to sexual partners even during treatment. You and possibly affected sexual partners should avoid sexual contact until treatment is finished. A three-month follow up test should be completed to ensure the infection has cleared up.

    For more information and statistics visit: STD Facts - Chlamydia (

    story divider

    Cervical Cancer

    Regular Screenings Save Lives

    Cervical cancer is cancer that starts in the cells that line the cervix (lower part of the uterus). The American Cancer Society estimates that, in the US for 2023, about 13,960 new cases of invasive cervical cancer will be diagnosed and approximately 4,310 people will die from cervical cancer. Symptoms can vary from pelvic pain during sexual intercourse, irregular or heavy menstruation, fatigue, nausea, or weight loss. Treatments include surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. 

    Screening for Cervical Cancer
    You can lower your risk of cervical cancer by getting regular and consistent screenings, starting at age 21. Two screening tests help prevent cervical cancer or detect it early:
  • The Pap (Papanicolaou) test or smear looks for precancers, which are cell changes in the cervix that might become cervical cancer if they are not treated appropriately.
  • The human papillomavirus (HPV) test looks for the HPV virus cells that are most likely to cause cervical cancer.
  • Both tests can be done at the same time in a doctor’s office or clinic. The provider collects cells from the cervix to be looked at closely in the lab to find cancer and precancer.

    Pap Smear Options
    Individuals with a cervix should get their first Pap test/smear at age 21. If test results are normal, the next test should be completed every three years. Individuals with a cervix who are 30 years old or older, have three options:
  • Continue getting a Pap test only. If test result is normal, wait three years for the next test.
  • Get an HPV test only. If test result is normal, wait five years for the next test.
  • Get both an HPV and Pap test together. If test results are normal, wait five years for the next tests.

  • For more information and statistics visit:

    story divider

    Where to Get Help

    Get mental health support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

    If you or someone you know is in emotional distress—help is available no matter what time of day or night. The Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is there to assist with a range of support—for those in crisis and/or considering suicide or self-harm to those who need help with the mental health challenges that come with substance abuse, economic worries, relationships, sexual identity, getting over abuse, mental or physical illness, loneliness, and more. To get help right away:

  • Call the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988.
  • Veteran’s Crisis Line: call 988 then press 1.
  • Call 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255).
  • Text HOME to 741741 to access the Crisis Text Line.

  • Behavioral Health Care Management Program

    A Martin’s Point care manager can also help address ongoing behavioral health needs. If you would like to speak to a Martin’s Point behavioral health care manager about our free care management program, call 1-877-659-2403.

    Learn more about ways to support the mental health of adults and children on our Mental Health page.