Did you know that 40% of deaths in the UK are caused by some form of vascular disease? Also known as a type of critical illness, the steps individuals can take to prevent vascular disease are actually very simple.
Vascular disease can affect anyone at any stage of their adult life. Most commonly it occurs in individuals over 50 years, with men being more at risk of developing it at an earlier stage in life than women.
Vascular disease, as a title, incorporates a number of diseases of the veins and arteries. These include:
- Coronary heart disease, leading to angina, heart attacks, and heart failure.
- Strokes and TIAs (“mini strokes”)
- Aortic disease
- Peripheral arterial disease – This is the most common form of vascular disease, affecting the arteries in your legs.
What is Vascular Disease?
All vascular disease is actually caused by inflammation and weakness of both veins and arteries. This is also coupled with a build up of fatty deposits within the blood vessels, happening over a long period of time.
These deposits damage the blood vessels further, therefore reducing or blocking the flow of blood to the vital organs including the brain (causing things such as a stroke) or the heart (causing a heart attack).
In many cases, vascular diseases such as those listed above can be prevented by simple lifestyle changes. However, your risk of developing cardiovascular disease can be increased if you have a family history of these types of diseases.
In this case, adopting some simple changes to how you eat or exercise would be particularly beneficial to you. People of certain ethnic backgrounds, particularly South Asian, African, or Caribbean, may also be at increased risk.
Considering how common vascular diseases are, it is always worth considering Critical Illness Insurance if you feel your increased risk could affect your financial state in the future. While we must always strive for good health, we must also always be prepared for every eventuality.
If you are at an increased risk of developing vascular disease due to family history, ethnic background, or any of the following causes, Critical Illness Cover can add to your peace of mind should the diagnosis arrive.
Other Causes of Vascular Disease
Besides family history and ethnic background, your risk of vascular disease is also increased by the following:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Being overweight or obese
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- An unhealthy diet
Vascular Disease Prevention Guidelines
If you have already been diagnosed with some form of vascular disease, there are ways to prevent or reduce the risk of further developments or complications. You can take many of these same steps if you have not received a diagnosis but wish to reduce your risk of developing the disease in later life.
- Stop Smoking – Smoking is known to cause blockages, narrow the arteries and to cause thickening of the blood. If you smoke, trying to quit may well be one of the hardest challenges you face as you embark on your path to better vascular health, but it is important to remember that there is help available. As a smoker, or someone looking to quit smoking, ESMI’s Critical Illness Cover will not discriminate or add extra costs to your policy. The health risks of smoking are well-known, so ensuring you and your family’s long-term security is a positive and worthwhile investment.
- Eat a balanced diet – Vascular disease prevention is very reliant on consuming a diet which is low in saturated fats, salt and sugar. Saturated fats can be found in foods such as butter, cakes, biscuits, sausages, cream, and bacon. Eating a large amount of saturated fats and cholesterol can greatly increase your risk of heart disease. You should also aim to eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables per day. This could include almost any fruit or vegetable, including tinned goods and baked beans.
- Exercise regularly – The NHS recommends taking at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise per week. Moderate aerobic activity is any exercise which raises your heart rate noticeably but does not prevent you from being able to talk. A brisk walk is one of the best ways to gently raise your heart rate, whilst also reducing stress, increasing your intake of vitamin D, and helping you get out into the fresh air.
- Maintain a healthy weight – Ideally, you should aim for a BMI of less than 25. The NHS website has a calculator which can help you find out what your ideal healthy weight should be, based on your sex, height and age. Even though an unhealthy weight can increase your chances of a number of illnesses, it will not be taken into consideration when you apply for Critical Illness Cover from ESMI.
- Reduce your alcohol intake – Drinking a large amount of alcohol on a regular basis is known to increase the risk of damage to your heart. You should try to stay below the recommended weekly limit of 14 alcohol units, where possible. This applies to both men and women.
- If you are at particularly high risk of developing vascular disease, there are certain medications such as statins (to lower blood cholesterol levels) or aspirin (to reduce blood pressure) available to those who need it. Your GP will be able to advise and prescribe accordingly.
Planning for the Future
Irrespective of whether you fall into a high risk category, it’s important to take active steps towards vascular disease prevention for a healthier life. With ESMI’s Critical Illness Cover, you can enjoy complete peace of mind in the event you do get diagnosed with vascular disease. ESMI offer guaranteed acceptance, meaning we will cover you no matter what the details of your medical history or family medical history are. Using our fast, straightforward and short online application process, you can protect the future of your loved ones within a few minutes. In addition, the premiums on our life insurance and life and critical illness insurance policy are fixed for 5 years, and offer a total benefit of up to £100,000.
Critical illness can be devastating for any family, in more ways than one but taking steps towards vascular disease prevention through leading a healthier lifestyle and investing in critical illness cover can help ensure a more secure future for you and your loved ones. Contact us today for more information, or if you’re ready, you can get a free quote now.