Peripheral arterial disease (PAD), which is also known as peripheral vascular disease (PVD), is a cardiovascular condition which affects the legs.
Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is caused by atherosclerosis, a buildup of fatty deposits (atheroma) within the arteries which restricts the supply of blood to the leg muscles.If you have peripheral arterial disease you are at higher risk of suffering from other cardiovascular conditions, such as a heart attack (myocardial infarction), stroke and abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA).The British Heart Foundation publishes an extensive and free guide to PAD which you can download here.
Atherosclerosis is associated with ageing, as atheroma naturally forms over time within the arteries. But, as with heart attacks and strokes your family medical history and the way you live your life can increase the risk of developing peripheral arterial disease. Smoking is a key risk factor, alongside being overweight, not being physically active, having high blood pressure (hypertension), diabetes or high cholesterol. People of African, Caribbean or South Asian heritage are also more susceptible to PAD.You can minimise the risk of developing PAD and other cardiovascular conditions by taking care of your body through regular exercise and eating healthily. A diet which avoids saturated fats (found in many processed foods) will help keep minimise the amount of low density lipoprotein (LDL), the “bad cholesterol” which promotes atherosclerosis. You’ll find that a number of private health insurance policies provide as benefits access to wellbeing programmes offering expert nutritional, lifestyle and medical advice and discounts for gym or health club memberships.
Yes, but only if you have not been previously diagnosed with the condition or are already displaying its symptoms. If your policy is based on moratorium underwriting then if you have been diagnosed with peripheral arterial disease but are not suffering symptoms, receiving advice, diagnostic tests or taking medication, then you may be covered. Cover may also be available through policies which offer ‘medical history disregarded’ (MHD) underwriting or if you are protected under a company health insurance scheme. As private health insurance policies typically do not cover pre-existing medical conditions, if you have PAD then you will need to look at your options. Whilst you should still be able to secure health insurance it’s possible that the cover offered may be specifically restricted and a higher premium could be demanded.
If you have PAD then you can help manage the condition yourself simply by eating well, taking regular exercise and not smoking. The wellbeing programmes which feature as standard in many private medical insurance policies can help with this. However, once you have had a diagnosis, you may be prescribed one or more drugs such as a statin, which can help control your blood cholesterol, anti-platelets which help minimise the risk of blood clots forming (aspirin, at a low daily dose, is often prescribed). Angioplasty, which involves the fitting of a stent (a tube) to widen the artery at the point it is narrowed and is a surgical procedure which is covered by some private health insurance policies and bypass surgery may also be offered. Cover may also be provided for diagnostic treatments such as angiograms (including computerised tomography and magnetic resonance angiograms), electrocardiogram (ECG) testing and ankle brachial index analysis in which blood pressure in the arm and leg is compared.
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 arterial disease or are just looking for a policy that will cover you whatever the situation, we can help – Contact Us today.