A stroke, known medically as a cerebrovascular accident (CVA), occurs when the supply of blood to the brain is interrupted.
The blood supply may be interrupted by a clot which forms in a part of the body which travel to the brain (embolic clot); by a blood vessel within the brain bursting (a haemorrhagic stroke); or by an arterial clot (a thrombotic stroke). People can also suffer from “mini strokes” known as Transient Ischaemic Attacks (TIA), a temporary interruption of normal blood flow to the brain, which, whilst initially less serious, can indicate the onset of a full stroke.
Simply ageing can increase the risk of stroke as arteries may naturally narrow in a process known as atherosclerosis, but other lifestyle and health factors are significant. These include smoking, alcohol abuse, being overweight, having high blood pressure (hypertension), diabetes and living a sedentary lifestyle with little physical exercise. Family history can also be an indicator as well as ethnicity with people of African, Caribbean and South Asian heritage at higher risk. We cannot defy the ageing process but can take steps to reduce the risks that come with atherosclerosis and hypertension by for example not or stopping smoking , keeping within recommended alcohol intake limits and taking regular exercise. You may receive assistance in living a healthier life through a private health insurance policy which can include wellbeing programmes and access to expert health and lifestyle advice. Whilst the benefits provided vary depending upon the policy chosen, discounted gym and health club membership are frequently offered.
If you have already suffered a stroke then most private medical insurance policies will not provide cover due to you having a pre-existing medical condition. This does not mean that you will not be able to secure health insurance, but that the insurer may apply specific restrictions to your cover and may charge you a higher premium.
The treatments for stroke vary depending on the type suffered – haemorrhagic or ischemic – and might include “clot-busting” medications, statins to reduce cholesterol, aspirin to thin the blood, anticoagulants to minimise the risk of clots forming, beta, alpha or calcium channel blockers to help manage blood pressure. Typically these would be provided by the NHS following emergency admission to treat the initial stroke. However your private medical insurance provider may offer access to rehabilitative treatments such as speech therapy, counselling, physiotherapy, psychological and occupational therapies. If you have not received a diagnosis but it is suspected you may have had a stroke, you may also be offered diagnostic CT or MRI scans. Wellbeing programmes included within many policies can also help you reduce the risk of suffering a stroke.
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 a stroke or are just looking for a policy that will cover you whatever the situation, we can help – Contact Us today.