It sounds crazy to say it, but some people are fortunate enough to know they have heart disease and are in a position to pay better attention to the care they take of themselves. When I say fortunate, I mean, in comparison to the thousands who die or become seriously ill every year with undiagnosed heart conditions that they weren't even aware of.
You see, we just never know. There are contributing factors such as family history and smoking that it is quite clear are directly linked to a predisposition to heart disease but for some, it comes out of the blue.
For those looking to take out private health insurance, it is a good idea to consider their personal health care. There is often the possibility of lower premiums for those who are keeping a watchful eye on the amount of fat in their diet as well as those who stick to a regular exercise routine, as these factors can help keep cholesterol levels down.
The average level of cholesterol in the blood stream in UK residents is currently 5.6 millimoles per litre of blood. The government aim to get this average down to five with a programme of education and health care, brought about by research. A group of drugs known as statins are taken by four million people every year in England and Wales to reduce cholesterol levels and thus reduce the risk of stroke or heart attack and this number is expected to rise by 1.5 million if something is not done soon.
These statins have been prescribed quite freely in the past but GP's are under extreme pressure to cut drugs bills. It is essential that proper evaluation is carried out on the patient and that the right statin is prescribed. Studies by US researchers show that a particular brand of statins can reduce the risk heart disease by up to 44 per cent, even in those not normally considered a risk. The results of this study will be released at the American Heart Association meeting this week.
Tests were carried out on patients that either had high cholesterol levels or high levels of a protein called hsCRP linked to heart disease by inflaming the arteries. Both groups benefitted enough from the drug to suggest that it should be a preventative measure available to everybody.
This is good news for private health insurance companies as well as the nation itself. Anything that is proven to reduce risk has the possibility of reducing private health insurance premiums as well as lead to a longer, healthier life.
The drug in question, Crestor, is already available on the NHS to patients with high cholesterol levels. For those tested, the incidents of heart attacks was reduced by 54 per cent, strokes reduced by 48 per cent and the need for bypass surgery was cut by 46 per cent. These are pretty amazing results and if you were looking to prevent heart disease and please your private health insurance company, you would do well to consider asking your doctor for them.
The results of the tests were considered so staggering that the test was stopped half way through. It was thought unethical to keep giving half the patients placebos when the drug was having such benefits for all groups of people.
It is expected that Crestor will cost 26 pounds a month for the recommended dosage whereas cheaper, less effective statins are being issued by doctors for 1.42 pounds a month. A huge price difference and a huge health benefit difference.