Organ care is not like healing a broken bone or a cut – in fact, it can be very difficult to know when we have any complications with our organs.
Organ failure is classed as what is commonly known as a critical illness and something that is advisable to get protection for.
Here at ESMI we offer many different types of medical insurance to make sure that you’re always protected, but ultimately, keeping your organs healthy is down to the individual – that’s why we’ve put together this list of the 4 best things you can do to keep all your organs happy and healthy!
1) Stop smoking – the best body organ care decision you can make
Smoking is bad for organ care in general. If you smoke, quitting is one of the best health decisions you can make. According to the World Health Organisation, not only does smoking tobacco kill some 7 million people each year (with just under one million of those being the result of non-smokers exposed to second-hand smoke), it also kills around half of its users.
Lung cancer is the most deadly cause of cancer in the UK, accounting for 22% of all cancer related deaths among men and women. According to the NHS, 85% of all lung cancer cases are caused by smoking – tobacco contains more than 60 different chemicals that contribute to the development of lung cancer. The NHS also suggests that smoking 25 cigarettes a day makes you 25 times more likely to develop lung cancer than a non-smoker.
However, while stopping smoking is one of the best steps you can take towards improving the health of your body overall, it can take up to 15 years for your lungs to completely recover. Until that point, ex-smokers are still more likely to develop lung cancer (although the risks decrease with time). Lung cancer is a critical illness, so as well as quitting smoking, it’s important to take other steps to protect yourself and your family from that eventuality, including considering critical illness insurance.
Smoking isn’t just bad for your lungs;
“If you’re a smoker, stopping smoking is the single most important step you can take to protect the health of your heart.” British Heart Foundation
Smoking can damage the lining of your arteries, significantly increasing your risk of a heart attack – which is further exacerbated by the fact that smoking universally increases blood pressure. Smoking also decreases the amount of oxygen that your blood can absorb, and makes your blood more likely to clot, causing other heart-related complications.
Overall, quitting smoking is one of the best organ care decisions that you can make, and doing so may be a lot easier than you think. There’s a wealth of information available to you online to help you quit, and the NHS runs ‘Stop Smoking’ clinics all around the country too. To find your local clinic and quit today, head to their website and just pop in your postcode!
2) Eat Healthy – the original form of organ care
Watching what you eat is another organ care must – it is important to maintain a healthy and balanced diet for the good of your whole body. However, a poorly balanced diet can lead particularly to complications in the heart, which can eventually lead to a heart attack, or even death.
Eating right is simple with just a bit of planning and the NHS provides some great advice for exactly how to balance your diet. Of course, we can all do with eating a bit more fruit and veg, but did you know that eating two portions of oily fish every week can significantly help to improve the health of your heart?
Salmon and fresh Tuna are both examples of oily fish, and they are both very high in vitamins and minerals which are good for your whole body. The abundance of omega-3 fatty acids has been linked with maintaining a healthy heart.
As well as making some healthy additions to our diet, it can be helpful to cut back on certain products too. Sugar and saturated fats are fine in small quantities, but many of us consume well over our recommended daily allowance without even realising, which can cause serious health complications.
Cutting down our intake can be as simple as checking the fat and sugar quantities in the pre-packaged food we eat to ensure we aren’t exceeding our guideline daily amount (for men and women respectively, that’s 30g or 20g of saturated fat, and 120g or 90g of sugar).
If you want to further reduce your saturated fat intake, try to avoid butter, hard cheese and fatty cuts of meat. To cut down on sugar, avoid sweets and sugary drinks, but also try to drink less alcohol.
3) Drink less alcohol – it’s bad for all your organs.
Alcohol is bad for your body organ health in a number of ways. Recent research has revised the old idea that drinking a small amount of alcohol can be good for the heart, and the NHS now advertises that while drinking a certain small amount of alcohol may be a ‘low-risk’, it should not be considered ‘safe.’
They recommend never drinking more than 14 units of alcohol in a week (roughly 6 pints of beer, or 10 small glasses of wine), and trying to spread your alcohol consumption over three or more days, in order to limit the negative effects on your body.
Typically, we associate drinking too much with causing liver disease which can be incredibly dangerous. It is possible for liver disease to develop to a very late stage without any obvious symptoms. It also leads to serious health complications such as liver cancer.
However, symptoms do eventually show, and they can be debilitating, affecting your ability to go to work and provide a steady stream of income. If you have a history of moderate to heavy drinking, the NHS recommends speaking to a doctor for a liver check up.
Taking out a critical illness health insurance plan is a good step towards protecting yourself against the financial effects of such a serious health issue. Applying for a critical illness insurance plan is quick and hassle free. We will also fix your premiums for 5 years.
Drinking doesn’t only affect your liver though – it can also causecomplications with your kidneys. Chronic Kidney Disease is another critical illness which isn’t always preventable. However, by watching how much you drink and staying below a limit of 14 units a week, you can help to make sure that your kidneys are as healthy as possible. Again though, if you have a history of moderate to heavy drinking, it is a good idea to request a check-up with your GP.
4) Exercise regularly – easy body organ care.
Exercising regularly is incredibly important for organ care, but it’s something that can be easily overlooked. Especially during a busy week, exercise is easy to cut out if we just need to save a little bit of time. However, there are little things that you can do to help weave exercise back in to your daily routine.
First off, the NHS recommends that adults should aim to do about 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity, or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity each week in order to stay healthy. Joining a local sports team is a great way of making sure that you’re getting that exercise in while having fun at the same time! Alternatively, joining a gym, swimming laps of the local pool, or even making time to go on a run can be a simple yet effective way of staying in shape.
But what about those weeks when you’re just too busy? According to the NHS, the average person walks 3,000 to 4,000 steps per day. However, getting that number to 10,000 can have a very positive impact on your health. And getting there is easy – just try substituting some of the other modes of transport you use for walking.
That means walking instead of driving on short journeys, or getting off the train a stop earlier on your way to work. Even trying to use the stairs instead of the lift is a great way to make sure you’re getting those steps in!
And of course, you might find that you enjoy it, in which case you can start to spend some time walking with your friends and family, or even join a local walking club if you’re feeling up to it.
Caring for your vital organs is incredibly important to your overall wellbeing, and is one of the best things that you can do to protect yourself against the unwanted effects of critical illness.