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Strokes happen to old people, right? Wrong. According to The Stroke Association, there has been an ‘alarming’ increase in the number of people in their 40s and 50s suffering from strokes. The figures come from official NHS data and are indeed rather shocking. Hospital admissions for 20 to 64 year olds suffering from the disease have leapt 25% in the fourteen years from 2000 to 2014. For men aged 40 to 54 the figure rises to 46% while for women the same age, the figure is 30%. As a result, the charity’s chief executive, Jon Barrick, stated that ‘Stroke can no longer be seen as a disease of older people’.
The twin demons of obesity and a sedentary lifestyle are thought to be the likely culprits for these frightening rises in the incidence of stroke, the former now rivalling smoking as public enemy number one. Obesity hugely increases the likelihood of having a stroke, with blood pressure another major factor.
A healthy diet, increased exercise and regular blood pressure checks are all useful tools to protect yourself against stroke but unfortunately, we are all at risk and are unable to protect ourselves 100%. One glimmer of good news among the doom and gloom is that the likelihood of dying from a stroke has reduced massively – the number of UK deaths from stroke fell from 87,974 in 1990 to 40,282 in 2013.
Of course surviving a stroke is better than the alternative but can still be devastating and not only in terms of your physical wellbeing. Having a stroke can also have a huge negative impact on your finances as well as your ability to work and provide for your family. As Barrick so succinctly put it “Stroke survivors unable to return to work can struggle to cope with a fall in income, increased household bills and a benefits system which does not recognise the full impact of stroke.”. The Stroke Association have estimated that loss of income due to death and disability caused by a stroke amounts to £1.3bn per year with one survey highlighting the reluctance of employers to employ stroke survivors – 42% said they would be reluctant to do so because of worries about them being able to carry out their role in a satisfactory manner.
There is a simple way to ensure that, should you be unfortunate enough to have a stroke, your family suffer as little stress and financial hardship as possible, and it needn’t cost you a fortune. In the worst case scenario, life insurance will pay out should you die as a result of the stroke, but it is also worth thinking about critical illness insurance which will pay out a lump sum on diagnosis and eliminate the financial struggles which would result from a loss of income, thereby protecting your lifestyle and that of your family until you can get back on your feet again. In tandem, these two types of insurance offer the ultimate in peace of mind.
Would you like to learn more about life and other peace of mind insurance policies? Would you like to be better informed before making a buying decision if so download the free Expat Insurance Consumer Guide and have all your questions answered.