Posted on Jul 02, 2015 by Travis Jones
What’s so bad about cholesterol?
Cholesterol isn’t necessarily bad for your body. In fact, your body needs cholesterol to build healthy cells. The problem is too much bad cholesterol – it slows down your body’s blood flow and increases your risk of heart attack and stroke by cutting off blood and oxygen flow to the heart and brain.
How do doctors test cholesterol?
Cholesterol screening is a simple process. A physician will take a small blood sample and send it to the laboratory to be analyzed. The lab will often check for glucose and triglyceride levels at the same time. Most doctors recommend that everyone over the age of 20 check their cholesterol levels every four to six years. However, anyone with a family history of high cholesterol or who demonstrates risk factors such as obesity or smoking should have cholesterol tests more often.
How do we prevent and treat high cholesterol?
Family history plays a big role in high cholesterol risk, but lifestyle and diet are equally important. You can prevent and also treat high cholesterol by exercising often and eating a healthy diet. Even moderate physical activity reduces your bad cholesterol and improves your good cholesterol – and when good cholesterol helps your body move fat to the liver for disposal, that lowers the bad cholesterol even more. Exercise also leads to weight loss, and simply maintaining a healthy Body Mass Index is a good start to keeping cholesterol low.
A healthy diet is another key factor in preventing and treating high cholesterol. A diet rich in fruit, vegetables, whole grains and fiber can prevent obesity – a significant cause of bad cholesterol build-up. High-fiber foods are especially effective at preventing or lowering high cholesterol because they contain soluble fiber that cuts through the bad cholesterol. Oatmeal, apples and kidney beans are all examples of healthy, high-fiber foods.
Although cholesterol can often be prevented and managed with healthy lifestyle choices, in some cases a doctor will recommend further medication – if cholesterol is particularly high or if the patient already maintains a healthy regime, but is genetically predisposed to high cholesterol levels. Cholesterol-lowering medication helps one’s body regulate the fats in the bloodstream, decreasing bad cholesterol and increasing the good.
Is treatment for high cholesterol covered by insurance?
Many insurance plans offer not only coverage for cholesterol medication, but also provide health and lifestyle coaching and classes, including a visit with a dietician or potentially even discounts on gym membership. However, some insurance companies do consider high cholesterol a pre-existing condition – even if it’s not diagnosed until after an insurance policy has begun.
Despite this, there are plans available, such as International Health Insurance plans from Pacific Prime, which include coverage for virtually all pre-existing conditions. In Singapore, this is especially pertinent for expats, as they will not have access to the government subsidized healthcare that Singaporeans enjoy.
Pacific Prime believes that diagnosis and treatment for high cholesterol are essential health care services. That’s why our plans include coverage for it when others do not. All of our insurance partners provide a level of coverage we know that people with high cholesterol will appreciate, with no exclusions under a pre-existing condition clause.