Coronary Heart Disease (CHD), or ischaemic heart disease, refers to a condition called atherosclerosis in which the arteries that deliver oxygenated blood to the heart become narrowed or blocked.
CHD occurs through a build-up in the coronary arteries of a fatty plaque called atheroma. When blood flow is restricted this may cause angina or a heart attack (myocardial infarcation) whereby a piece of atheroma breaks away, causes a clot and prevents blood from reaching part of the heart muscle. If the blood supply is not swiftly restored this damages the heart as the section of muscle deprived of oxygen dies. According to statistics published by the NHS nearly 17% of male and 10% of female deaths are attributable to CHD, with an estimated 2.3m people diagnosed with the condition.
It’s a fact of life that simply by getting older you are at higher risk of atherosclerosis, as plaque forms naturally within the arteries. However your lifestyle choices and family medical history also significantly increase the risk of coronary artery disease. The usual subjects are in the frame when it comes to family history, lifestyle, with smoking, excess intake of alcohol, being overweight and not getting enough exercise all factors. If you suffer from high blood pressure (hypertension) or diabetes then you are also at higher risk of developing CHD, as are people of African, Caribbean or South Asian descent.Adopting a healthy lifestyle will help minimise the risk of suffering from CHD. Taking regular exercise and enjoying a nutritionally balanced diet – avoiding, for example, saturated fats – will help you better control the level of low density lipoprotein (LDL), a form of cholesterol which fosters atherosclerosis. Obviously not smoking, or giving up the habit, will help as will keeping your alcohol consumption within recommended limits (no more than 2-3 units per day for women, 3-4 units for men). Many private health insurance policies can help you live better by providing access to expert nutritional, lifestyle and medical advice through wellbeing programmes that often also provide discounted gym or health club memberships.Of course it’s important to remember that the benefits offered vary depending upon the policy chosen.
As long as you have not received a diagnosis or already suffer the symptoms of coronary heart disease, then most policies will provide cover this.
Most private health insurance policies do not cover pre-existing health conditions so if you have received a diagnosis then you will need to discuss your options. You should still be able to benefit from health insurance but insurers may place specific restrictions upon your cover and/or seek a higher premium.
Diagnosis for cardiovascular diseases can result in a range of treatments, including a combination of medicines such as statins (to reduce cholesterol), anti-clotting agents (for blood clots) and drugs which help reduce high blood pressure. As CHD is a chronic, incurable condition these would typically be provided by the NHS, but there are some exemptions.
At Chase Templeton we’re experts in understanding and explaining to you the ins and outs of private health insurance policies. If you’re at risk of heart disease or are just looking for a policy that will cover you whatever the situation, we can help – Contact Us today.