Posted on May 28, 2015 by Travis Jones
Affluence; it’s something that Singapore has in spades. As an Asian finance hub that has attracted people from all around the globe, Singapore is a land of opportunity for anyone savvy enough to navigate the city-state’s current business landscape. Families are started and raised here, and people can live out their days in a safe environment that offers all of life’s modern creature comforts. There is a drawback to this however. Whereas underdeveloped countries have to worry about health problems such as communicable disease or malnutrition, people living in Singapore have to worry about diseases related to sedentary lifestyles and old age. Chief among these is heart disease, which is responsible for approximately 30% of deaths in Singapore each year. While there are many factors leading to cardiovascular diseases, this article will review one that insurers in the city are asked about regularly: Hypertension.
For those that don’t know, hypertension refers to high blood pressure, as opposed to low blood pressure, which is known as hypotension. Hypertension causes health problems due to excessive force being placed against the walls of a person’s arteries, so a combination of a heart that pumps lots of blood and narrow arteries means serious hypertension. There are two types of hypertension that have various causes: Primary hypertension (which is vastly more common than secondary hypertension) really does not have a specific discernible cause, and develops incrementally over a long period of time. Secondary hypertension develops as part of an underlying condition and can occur suddenly. Examples of underlying conditions include sleep apnea, kidney or thyroid problems, or the use of medications, alcohol or other drugs. Hypertension can be undetected for years, but left untreated it is likely to slowly cause health problems that will catch up with sufferers at some point.
Dangers of hypertension
Symptoms of hypertension include nosebleeds, dizziness, or headaches. The issue with these symptoms are that they may seem relatively benign to many people, but if brought about due to high blood pressure, it could be a sign that the disease has reached an advanced stage and could be life threatening.
Not only can high blood pressure be caused by other conditions, it can also cause them. In fact, complications from high blood pressure can lead to extremely dangerous, and even fatal, conditions. These include aneurysm, stroke, heart attack, heart failure, metabolic syndrome (which can lead to diabetes), and thickened, weakened, narrowed, or torn blood vessels. If issues with blood vessels develop around a person’s eyes or organs, it can lead to vision loss or organ malfunction. High blood pressure can even lead to mental disorders that can cause problems with memory or even basic understanding.
Prevalence of hypertension and risk factors
In 1998 the percentage of all Singaporeans aged between 18 and 69 suffering hypertension was 27.3%. Since that time, the prevalence of hypertension in that population has gone down, but 24.9% still were sufferers in 2004, and this number only fell to 23.5% by 2010. This shows that positive progress is being made in preventing and treating high blood pressure, and may lead some to wonder how the rates of people with hypertension fell over that time period.
In all likelihood, this has to do with the risk factors associated with the development of hypertension. One big risk factor that is unlikely to be overcome is family history. Sometimes high blood pressure simply is in a person’s genes. Similarly, age is an inescapable factor that will eventually put even the healthiest of people at risk of hypertension. In fact, the incidences of hypertension go up sharply for men from age 45, and age 65 for women. Finally, a person’s race also has a bearing on their likelihood to develop high blood pressure, but there is nothing that can be done about that.
However, there are many risk factors that can be controlled in order to prevent or treat hypertension. These include not getting enough potassium or vitamin D, intaking too much sodium (salt) in one’s diet, using tobacco, alcohol and other drugs, being stressed out, and engaging in a sedentary lifestyle that leads to becoming overweight or obese.
When you look at these controllable risk factors, it’s easy to see why Singapore has seen a decline in hypertension in recent years. Thanks to the spread of information that has been afforded to us by the internet, as well as a developing culture of caring about diet, exercise, healthy living and wellbeing in the city, rates of high blood pressure have gone down as overall health and fitness levels have gone up. Furthermore, efforts from the medical community of Singapore have also aimed at preventive medicine and arming people with the knowledge they need to take better care of themselves. All of this is even more impressive when Singapore’s aging population is taken into account, as age is a risk factor and the elderly population of Singapore has increased over the past decades.
Protect yourself inside and out
As you may have guessed from the information above, there are several steps you can take to keep your blood pressure at normal levels. First and foremost is to see your doctor for checkups regularly. Taking a person’s blood pressure is one of the most standard practices performed in medical facilities worldwide, and medical staff in Singapore are expertly trained to detect if yours is high. If your doctor believes that you should take prescription medication for your
hypertension follow their advice or seek out a second opinion. Once you know you have high blood pressure, are at risk for high blood pressure, or even just want to make sure you do not develop it, there are several other behaviors you can develop to treat or prevent it.
A quick and effective change would be to stop partaking of tobacco and alcohol if you are a regular user of either. Next, review and change your diet to make sure that your sodium and potassium intake is in balance, and that you are eating plenty of vitamin D. If you are overweight, reducing caloric intake and exercising regularly will help to shed the pounds and lower your risk of hypertension. If your daily stress levels are high, it would be wise to examine what is causing this stress and trying to remove those aspects of your life. If this is not possible, then methods like meditation or breathing exercises could help to cope.
While taking steps to prevent hypertension is important, as was mentioned previously, some people will simply not be able to overcome high blood pressure, and no matter what they do it will affect them eventually. This is where having a comprehensive health insurance plan that includes coverage for a chronic condition like hypertension is imperative.
People may not realize that, as a chronic condition, if their current insurance plan does not provide coverage for hypertension or its complications, insurers may list people already afflicted with hypertension as having a pre-existing condition, and they will not be able to receive any benefits for treatment even after obtaining an insurance plan that supposedly covers the condition. This is especially of interest to expatriates in Singapore, as they do not have access to the government subsidized healthcare that the general population has.
Fortunately for expats in Singapore, the types of plans that are likely best for them anyway are the types of plans that can solve this conundrum. International Health Insurance plans, like those provided by Pacific Prime Singapore, are already suited to the expat lifestyle, as they provide benefits for individuals, families and businesses all across the world, no matter where beneficiaries may travel to for business or pleasure. In addition to this, pre-existing conditions, like hypertension, are fully covered on International Health Insurance plans, further alleviating concerns for expats in Singapore and their families.
To find out more about obtaining International Health Insurance plans and coverage for pre-existing conditions, including high blood pressure,contact the expert agents at Pacific Prime Singapore today. They will be happy to provide you with the information you, as well as free quotes, and help to custom tailor a health insurance policy just for you.