critical illness is a life-threatening condition that puts your life, and the security and well-being of your family, under threat. Critical illnesses can be sudden and unexpected, in the form of bacterial meningitis or a heart attack, or they can be progressive as is often the case with cancer or multiple sclerosis.

Whatever the case, critical illnesses cause stress, major upset, and insecurity for everyone involved.

It may be that you only consider the possibility of a critical illness happening to you or someone you love when it actually happens. But the most recent cancer statistics show that an average of 980 cases are diagnosed every day in the course of one year.

With this in mind it is clear that life-threatening diseases can affect anyone, irrespective of whether pre-existing medical conditions effect you or not.

Some of the most common critical illnesses that effect individuals are listed below, alongside charities, support groups and websites where you can find support and more information.

Understanding Critical Illnesses – The Most Common

1) Bacterial Meningitis

This illness can occur suddenly, requires urgent medical attention, and cannot be vaccinated against. As such, we are all at risk, although babies, children and young people are amongst the most vulnerable.

For information on spotting signs and symptoms of bacterial meningitis, visit www.meningitisnow.org or contact their helpline on 0808 80 10 388. Meningitisnow also offer support in times of bereavement and in dealing with the possible life-changing effects of the disease.

Other organisations that can provide help and support for bacterial and other forms of meningitis are:

  • www.meningitis.org
  • cafamily.org.uk – Contact a family allow you to contact other families who have been through similar traumas.
  • headway.org.uk – A brain injury charity who provide support for those who have suffered brain trauma as an after-effect of meningitis.

2) Cancer

According to Macmillan Cancer Support, there are now an estimated 2.5 million people living with cancer in the UK. This figure is expected to rise to 4 million by 2030. In addition, the number of people living with cancer in the UK in 2015 has increased by almost half a million people in the last five years.

As a result it’s extremely likely that you or someone you know has been effected by cancer in some way. At all stages from diagnosis to treatment, cancer can cause immense stress and upheaval for everyone concerned.

Cancer is another critical illness that can strike any one of us at any time, but with the right support and financial protection, ESMI could help to reduce the added burden of a loss of income, or worse, bankruptcy.

Support for cancer sufferers and their loved ones can be found in many places, and include:

3) Coronary Artery Bypass Grafts / Heart Attack

Bypass grafts are a form of major surgery and can sometimes be an unavoidable treatment for those with coronary heart disease. Unlike meningitis and cancer, it is likely that you will know in advance if you need to have this procedure.

For many, major surgery does mean having to make provision for taking time off work for an extended period of time, as well as the possible after-care required.

An ESMI critical illness insurance policy can help cover the costs of this, and provide re-assurance to your loved ones allowing you to focus on getting better without any undue stress or worry.

Heart attacks, on the other hand, do not provide a warning. Signs and symptoms include chest pain, lightheadedness or dizziness, nausea, sweating, overwhelming anxiety, vomiting, and coughing or wheezing.

There are a number of support organisations for sufferers of heart disease:

  • www.bhf.org.uk– British Heart Foundation
  • NHS Choices – For information on heart disease and links to support groups for further information.
  • Ageuk.org.uk – AgeUK is aimed at supporting the over-60s in all aspects of their daily life. They provide information and support on all age-related diseases, including coronary heart disease.

4) Kidney Failure and Major Organ Transplant

Kidney failure can be caused by numerous underlying conditions, including diabetes, high blood pressure, and glomerulonephritis. With critical illness cover from ESMI, you will not be refused cover on the basis of your medical history, so your family will be protected if you suffer from kidney failure as a result of these or any other underlying conditions.

This also applies to any major organ transplants, whatever the cause.

For support and guidance on kidney failure and kidney disease, visit any of the following websites:

For support specifically for those undergoing a major organ transplant, visit transplantliving.org.

5) Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis effects the brain and/or spinal cord and impairs movement, vision, sensation and balance. From the point of diagnosis onwards, the life of a person living with Multiple Sclerosis will change dramatically. With the right support and information from charitable organisations, you and your family need not feel alone in dealing with this condition.

There are numerous support groups out there to help you and your loved ones come to terms with a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis.

These organisations provide information on living with the disease, putting you in touch with others going through the same thing, and pointing you in the direction of local support groups. They also provide information on research and getting involved with the charities.

6) Stroke

A stroke is a serious and life-threatening condition caused by the blood supply to the brain being cut off. This can be caused either by a blood clot, or by a weakened blood vessel bursting.

It is important that everyone becomes familiar with the signs of stroke – F.A.S.T. – as spotting it early could potentially save a life. Certain underlying conditions can increase the risk of stroke, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes.

After suffering a stroke, patients often require extended after-care, and there is the chance of permanent life-changing after-effects. Someone who has suffered a stroke may have difficulty with speech, walking, or with any movement on one side of their body. All of these can reduce a patient’s independence for an indefinite period of time.

Visit any of the following websites for more information and links to local support groups:

Protecting Your Family From All Eventualities

It is clear that critical illnesses can affect anyone at any time.

While it is impossible to know when and if it will happen to you, it is always possible for you to prepare – and it’s always the right time to do that. Our critical illness insurance policies prepare you for all eventualities.

We offer health protection to individuals and businesses with guaranteed acceptance on all of our products. This means that regardless of your medical history – whether you have already been affected by any of the illnesses discussed above, ESMI will still provide you and your family with competitive and reliable protection for the future.

Applications consist of a straightforward online application, with a free quotation. Premiums do not increase according to your job, or how much you drink.

If you have any questions about how ESMI can help protect your future and the future of your loved ones, please don’t hesitate to contact us, or you can visit our FAQ page.