Health conditions Singaporeans are at risk of having
We all know we need critical illness insurance, but the question is, insurance for which diseases?
Some policies have coverage for well over 40 serious illnesses; and how are we supposed to know which ones we will or won't get?
The simple answer is to plan for the most probable. Look for coverage for the main conditions Singaporeans are prone to, and ensure you have good coverage for them. These are conditions like:
Note: The following ranking is based on data from the Ministry of Health (MOH), with the latest numbers as of 2019 at the time of writing.
Cancer is the number one killer in Singapore. As of 2019, it accounted for 28.4 per cent of deaths (21,446 deaths). According to MOH, these are the most common cancer types:
● Colorectal cancer
● Lung cancer
● Prostate cancer
● Liver cancer
● Lymphoid Neoplasms
● Breast cancer
● Colorectal cancer
● Lung cancer
● Corpus Uteri
● Ovarian cancer
Cancer is caused by abnormal cell development in the body, which then spreads and infects other cells. The earlier cancer is detected, the more likely it is that the cancer is treatable. Late stage cancer (stage IV) is not always terminal, but the survival rates are much lower compared to earlier stages.
Genetics play a significant role in cancer, and some are more prone than others (your family medical history may have some bearing on this). Besides this, smoking, excessive sun and UV exposure, and other exposure to radiation can increase the odds of cancer.
As the exact causes of cancer are not well understood, and may not always be controllable (it may just be in your genes), the best defense is an active lifestyle, healthy diet, and frequent health screenings for early detection.
2. Heart disease (inclusive of strokes, heart attacks, etc.)
It’s estimated that 19 Singaporeans die of heart disease every single day. In the year 2020, heart disease accounted for 31.7 per cent, or almost one-third, of all deaths that occurred in the country.
The most common ways to die of heart disease are stroke, or a heart attack. These occur when blockages in the arteries restrict circulation, or rupture the artery. Less frequently, they can also be caused by blood clots, torn blood vessels, or blood vessel spasms. Some genetic conditions, such as congenital heart defects, can also result in heart failure.
Common signs of heart trouble include:
● Chronic sense of exhaustion / fatigue
● Loss of appetite
● Persistent cough
● Shortness of breath, even when not exercising or doing any activities
● Swelling in the extremities, such as swelling ankles, feet, and hands
● Numbness or tingling sensations in the left arm
● Tightness around the neck or jaw area
Some other symptoms, like cold sweat, nausea, or chest pains, could be signs that a heart attack is occurring, and an ambulance should be called immediately.
To avoid heart diseases, it’s important to have a healthy diet, and exercise regularly. It’s also important to avoid prolonged periods of high stress, and to minimise vices such as smoking and heavy drinking.
Diabetes is a growing problem in Singapore; and back in 2015 Singapore actually had the second highest rate of diabetes in the world, among developed nations. While the situation is improving slightly, Singapore is in a War on Diabetes, and it still costs the country around $1 billion a year to manage.
There are two types of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body does not produce sufficient insulin. Insulin is needed to process sugar (glucose) into energy. There’s no cure for Type 1 diabetes, and it must be managed through lifestyle restrictions and the use of insulin.
Type 2 diabetes is more common in adults and older people, although it can still happen in children. In this form of diabetes, the pancreas does not produce sufficient insulin, and the cells are absorbing less sugar despite the insulin.
Diabetes often leads to the following symptoms:
● Always feeling thirsty
● Having to pee all the time, sometimes multiple times in an hour
● Unintentional weight loss
● Chronic fatigue, as well as mood swings
● Diabetic retinopathy, which results in blurred vision
● Slow-healing wounds, as well increased frequency of skin and gum infections
Diabetes can, in advanced stages, lead to serious disability - this includes blindness, or loss of limbs and extremities (as wounds do not heal properly, amputations may be necessary).
Diabetes can also result in damage to the kidneys, and in advanced stages this may require treatment with dialysis. This is when a medical procedure is used to remove waste from the body, and dialysis may be required as often as every other day.
You may notice that most conditions, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, etc. are all wrapped up in these three health issues.
Now that you know what are the main health conditions that Singaporeans are at risk at, the best thing to do is to stay active, and eat healthy. After all, prevention is better than cure.
The next best thing?
It’s to get the relevant protection plans to give you peace of mind, specifically, Health Insurance and Critical Illness coverage.
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