Why is it important to secure health insurance for hypertension?
Hypertension (high blood pressure) is a common condition that can occur in anyone – young or old – and is considered to be a “silent killer”. According to an article published by Hypertension, the disease can have harmful effects even at a young age and may impact cardiovascular and brain health. Additionally, a study from Circulation Research suggested that the lifetime risk of developing hypertension is more than 90% for an individual aged 55 to 65 years old.
With this knowledge in mind, it would be wise for you to consider securing health insurance that covers the condition. If you are unsure of what hypertension is, the causes of the condition, and why health insurance will benefit you in the long run, this article by Pacific Prime Hong Kong will provide you with the answers.
What is hypertension?
Hypertension occurs when the flow of blood in the arteries is too high, which puts pressure against the walls of the arteries and increases the risk of them rupturing. If this happens in the brain, this is what we call a hemorrhagic stroke; if it occurs where oxygenated blood leaves via the aorta, this is referred to as an aortic aneurysm. Both are extreme consequences of hypertension and require urgent medical attention.
How is hypertension diagnosed?
From a medical perspective, hypertension is diagnosed when your blood pressure is or above 140/90 mmHg. You can ask your local general practitioner (GP) to measure your blood pressure when you next visit for a check-up. If you are told by your GP that your blood pressure, at rest, is over 140/90 mmHg then your GP will flag up what to consider including your health risks.
If you have yet to see your GP and experience on occasion or a regular basis – chest pain, anxiety, sweating, and fatigue among others – then you are encouraged to seek immediate medical attention as this could be an indication of a serious heart condition. If left untreated, it can cause your health to worsen and lead to a stroke or other heart-related issues like heart failure.
Did you know? Hypertension facts you need to be aware of:
- The normal blood pressure of an average human being is 120 over 80 mm of mercury (mmHg), however, in the case of hypertension blood pressure, your measurement will be higher than 130 over 80 mmHg.
- According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 1.13 billion people worldwide have hypertension and most ( around two-thirds) are living in low- and middle-income countries.
- Hypertension has no symptoms until it is too late. Many people will feel fine without showing signs of high blood pressure.
- Stress and unhealthy habits or lifestyles are the main culprits. (More about the causes covered below.)
What causes hypertension?
There are many known lifestyle and environmental factors that can cause you to develop hypertension. One of the main causal factors is stress itself. The nature of stress, be it at your workplace or when working from home with children around, can heighten your blood pressure to levels above what’s normal. And with the COVID-19 pandemic showing no signs of disappearing anytime soon, stress will most likely continue to be a significant contributor to hypertension.
Other causes of hypertension to mention include obesity, poor nutrition, smoking, and excessive alcohol consumption that – on its own or combined – can lead to a sedentary lifestyle. Additionally, there are factors that contribute to high blood pressure like aging and genetics (hereditary genes that increase the probability of developing a particular health disease).
How to prevent hypertension?
Knowing what the causes of hypertension are, it is easy to picture what you can do to prevent or at least reduce high blood pressure. There’s little you can do about aging and hereditary genes, but by living a healthy lifestyle, you can do a lot to keep your blood pressure in a healthy range. Here are a few suggestions to consider:
Eating a healthy diet
With most people now working from home, one of the ways to address stress and possibly involve the family is to gather in the kitchen and cook up a healthy meal. By opting for fresh produce or at least making a meal from scratch yourself, you will be in a better position of controlling what you put in and the nutritional value you can gain from each meal. It’s also worth mentioning how unhealthy snacks in large quantities can over time translate to weight gain. Instead of gorging on unhealthy snacks that are high in carbohydrates and sugar, try eating plenty of fruits and vegetables.
You can even go about creating a healthy diet plan (or DASH eating plan) which can help lower blood pressure.
Be physically active
Everyone preaches this but it’s worth repeating as it is beneficial for both the body and mind. Physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight and even lower your blood pressure and stress levels. You should aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per day, every week. You can include brisk walking, jogging, or cycling to help you meet the daily recommendation. But if you are at home and prefer to stay in due to the COVID-19 pandemic, then try out the many YouTube videos on offer for those who want to sweat it out in their bedroom or living room. Yoga or an on-the-spot HIIT class are top choices too!
Pay a visit to the website for CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity to gather more ways to help you be physically active.
Stop smoking tobacco
If you are a smoker, take note of the following – smoking tobacco has been shown to increase the risk of heart disease, including stroke, vascular disease, and aneurysms. More so, it increases blood pressure acutely which is why stopping altogether will help protect your health in the long run. The general consensus here is that smoking any organic combustible material such as tobacco should be avoided at all costs.
Smoking damages the lungs
Our lungs are delicate organs consisting of millions of intricate and tiny air sacs called alveoli. The purpose of the lungs is to enable the exchange of gases, namely oxygen with carbon oxide for our body’s metabolism.
For smokers, the by-products from burning tobacco or any other combustible material can stain the lining of the lungs with chemicals like tar and block the exchange of gases. This can result in breathing difficulties and chest infections, as well as increase the risk of hypertension.
It is essential that you seek help if you need support quitting, as being a smoker of many years can be difficult to let go of due to the addictive nature of nicotine. You are encouraged to get help from your close friends and family members as they can support and guide you along the way. Additionally, you can attempt to find a local stop smoking service with professional counselors to help.
Check out further tips to help you stop smoking from the Hong Kong government website here.
Why should you secure health insurance?
“Hong Kong is among the top 3 most expensive countries and city-states in the world for healthcare.” – Luke Hickey, General Manager at Pacific Prime Hong Kong
In Hong Kong, medical costs are rising exponentially as hospitals update their health services and medical approaches to meet the growing health needs of the population. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has also exacerbated the current healthcare climate and will surely inflate medical costs in 2021 and beyond. To learn more about medical inflation in Hong Kong, download our Cost of International Health Insurance Report 2020-2021.
Avoid out-of-pocket costs
With the high costs of covering treatment for non-communicable health conditions like hypertension, it can be really difficult for the average-salary person to afford doctor’s fees, numerous diagnostic tests, ongoing treatment, hospitalization changes, etc. However, if you get health insurance, you can get all these medical expenses covered provided you speak to an insurance advisor and ask for both inpatient and outpatient cover.
An experienced advisor at Pacific Prime Hong Kong can help you find the best health insurance plan in Hong Kong for hypertension and also give you further insight on important aspects like waiting periods for hypertension, limits of the benefits on offer, and other terms and conditions to consider like the exclusion of pre-existing conditions.
Disclaimer: Please be aware that all content shared on this website does not constitute medical advice, and should not replace the opinions of your healthcare provider(s). For medical advice on hypertension, you are encouraged to contact your local GP.