Critical illness cover 2 reasons

I had just started my MBA, was trying to grow my business and at the time I had two little boys to look after- I mean most of us can relate to it right(?)- too many hours in the office, too little time with the family even less time to stop and think and spent some time to rest. One evening I had heart pain – the whole chest did not feel right and by midnight I was to afraid to get asleep instead I decided to go to the North Shore hospital thinking that I am going there to be told that I am having a heart attack… Not a happy evening to remember. That evening made me think that I want to know more about heart attacks in order to at least make myself ready to fight it. By next morning I was told that I was “just fine” and by the next evening after a series of tests and scans was send home… back to my work, MBA and the family. 🙂

I clearly remember thinking about – how would my wife live… would the family have enough funds to be able to sustain the needed level of income or when would I be able to comeback to work to earn money. I mean it is an interesting feeling to count money with beeping sound – normally it happens by the “check out” in the supermarket – that night I was thinking about money with the beeping sound of the machine which was monitoring my heart. During that time while in the hospital I was thinking about two types of insurance policies:

Critical Illness cover and Life Insurance

During a heart attack, the cholesterol plaque inside the lining of the coronary artery ruptures and attracts platelets to clump and form a clot.  This clot blocks the supply of blood and oxygen to the heart.  If this process is not reversed, the heart muscle slowly dies.  This causes the heart to fail or beat irregularly at a fast pace that can be potentially fatal.  Powerful blood thinners called thrombolytics can dissolve this blood clot inside the coronary artery.  If for some reason blood thinners can do more harm than good, coronary angioplasty can be performed to save the heart. This is why critical illness insurance policy has both definitions heart attack and coronary angioplasty listed as the medical conditions which would trigger the pay out of the sum insured.

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Coronary angioplasty is a procedure which opens up the clogged arteries in the heart.  Think of it as a wire driven inside a pipe to remove the dirt and grime that clogs it.  It is done by interventional cardiologists in order to rescue the heart during a heart attack or as a measure to avoid an imminent heart attack from happening in a severely narrowed artery.

Criticall ilness Cover-coronary angioplasty

stent – Critical illness Cover . Photo courtesy of 1lenore(CC Attribution)

In this procedure, a small incision is done in the groin area.  A thin catheter is inserted inside the artery in the groin called the femoral artery.  The catheter finds its way to the chest and to the small arteries of the heart.  A dye is then injected to visualize the coronary arteries and to identify which artery has a cholesterol plaque that is blocking it.  A powerful X-ray called a fluoroscope is able to see what is going on during the procedure so that the team is able to know what and where things are.

Once the diseased artery is identified, the interventional cardiologist places a stent in between the cholesterol plaque by inflating a small balloon at the tip of the catheter.  This enlarges the caliber of the artery to allow sufficient blood flow to the heart muscle.  The stent, which is like a small mesh, keeps the inside of the artery from closing.  Modern stents are lined with medication that avoids formation of a platelet clot.  Once it is in place, the catheter is removed and the incision in the groin is closed.  The patient is then sent to the coronary care unit for close monitoring for at least 24 hours.

Open Stent- Critical illness cover

Critical illness cover “stent”

stent -critical illnes cover. Photo courtesy of 1lenore(CC Attribution)

Complications can happen during and after the coronary angioplasty.  The most common complication is bleeding from the incision in the groin.  The heart may also beat in an abnormally slow or fast pace which can cause sudden death.  There can also be displacement of the stent during the procedure.  The dye used to visualize the coronary arteries can cause kidney injury especially to those who have kidney problems.  These complications are low in patients whose angioplasty is done when the patient is stable.  In the hands of a very experienced team of specialists, these complications rarely happen.

After an unremarkable stay inside the coronary care unit for a day or so, the patient is discharged with a prescription of blood thinners and other cardiac medications.  Constant follow up with a cardiologist is crucial during the following weeks after the procedure.  Whatever the case may be, the chance of having a heart attack is lower after coronary angioplasty.

I hope this article would make you to appreciate the critical illness cover you have or if for some unknown reasons you do not yet have it yet it would make you think that you need to arrange one for yourself. I have mentions a few scenarios where in my opinion critical illness cover can be extremely helpful – without repeating myself- if you had a heart attack – you would want to rust back to work or even if you had to go through coronary angioplasty – you would want to take a few months to look after yourself.

Featured image courtesy of James Heilman

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