Cardiovascular disease in Thailand and your health insurance
Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are a significant issue for people living in Thailand. Globally, cardiovascular diseases like stroke and heart attacks are responsible for around 17.7 million deaths annually, and account for almost half of the deaths associated with NCDs. According to a 2014 World Health Organization publication, 71% of a total 501,000 deaths in Thailand were caused by NCDs, with 29% of those being cardiovascular. Much of what can be done relates to preventative health measures, however health insurance coverage can still help those for which preventative actions come too little, too late.
What is cardiovascular disease?
The term cardiovascular disease covers a wide range of issues related to the heart and blood vessels that feed in and out of it. Among the common conditions grouped under this term include:
- Coronary artery disease (e.g. angina or heart attack)
- Ischemic stroke
- Peripheral artery disease
- Rheumatic heart disease
- Hypertensive heart disease
- Congenital heart disease
- Heart arrhythmia
- Aortic aneurysms
According to the website Health Data, Ischemic heart disease has been the number one killer in Thailand for the past decade, with it jumping from the third to first most common cause of premature death. Symptoms of heart disease depend on the type you experience, but can include chest pain, tightness of the chest, or chest pressure; a shortness of breath, or pain breathing; lightheadedness or dizziness; cyanosis; swelling of the limbs; fever; fatigue; fainting; or a range of other biological issues.
What are the causes?
There are a number of reasons behind why people might develop heart disease. People can be born with biological factors that make them more susceptible to developing cardiovascular issues, while others will develop theirs due to a range of reasons such as poor nutrition, physical inactivity, and smoking. Many of these factors pose a risk to us as they heighten our likelihood of developing atherosclerosis, where the arteries narrow and thicken over years. Often, this can be without immediate symptoms being present.
When an artery is filled with fatty materials, cholesterol or other substances, it can cause them to rupture. The rupturing is what leads to a stroke or a heart attack. The fortunate news is that around 80% of the 17 million cardiovascular disease deaths that occur every year are preventable.
How can I guard against developing a cardiovascular disease?
The best way to defeat heart disease for many is simply to live a healthy lifestyle. Obviously, those born with preconditions susceptible to heart conditions cannot prevent their biology, but everyone can undertake some simple lifestyle changes to ensure they reduce their risk of developing cardiovascular disease:
- Exercise regularly
- Eat a balanced diet
- Control your blood sugar levels
- Keep a healthy body weight
- Reduce stress
- Quit smoking
It’s not rocket science at all, but it’s important to know that these simple but crucial lifestyle decisions are key to keeping you and your heart healthy.
Can health insurance help if I develop heart disease?
A high quality health insurance plan in Thailand can definitely provide you with the coverage you need to see you through treatment for a cardiovascular disease. However, not all plans may be as helpful as others. Lower quality plans may offer coverage for heart disease, but their limits will be low – meaning you may find yourself having to pay for the costs of care out-of-pocket quickly. Other low cost plans may exclude cover for cardiovascular disease outright, while most will exclude coverage where a related pre-existing condition exists.
Pre-existing conditions and health insurance coverage
The most important thing to remember when it comes to securing health insurance is to be open and honest with your insurer regarding any pre-existing conditions. This is especially true for cardiovascular disease coverage. Where you have a history of high blood pressure or high cholesterol, and these are not disclosed to the insurer when you purchase the policy, you will find any claims for cardiovascular treatments denied as a result.
Those with pre-existing conditions can still find health insurance coverage that offers benefits for cardiovascular diseases. In order to account for the higher risk, insurers will simply add a loading, or surcharge, to your premium in order to accept future claims when they arise. As a broker committed to the wellbeing of our clients, we wholly recommend being honest about pre-existing conditions when signing up to a plan – we, unfortunately, cannot do much to help you if you choose to hide information from us and the insurer to gain coverage.
Getting health insurance in Thailand to cover all your potential medical needs
When it comes to securing the right coverage for your situation, using an experienced broker is a must. Pacific Prime Thailand has the expertise to match people with plans from many reputable local and global insurance companies, using our extensive industry knowledge, and unparalleled client servicing approach. If you need to secure comprehensive health insurance in Thailand, be sure to get in touch with a leading name in insurance in Asia.