Protect yourself against Singapore’s fourth* biggest killer – stroke
Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in Singapore and it’s not entirely surprising, especially if you look at the way some of us live.
Living in a busy city can easily lead to a lifestyle that increases the risk of stroke.
But wait, what’s a stroke?
To put it simply, a stroke is when blood supply to your brain is interrupted or reduced, preventing brain tissue from getting oxygen and nutrients.
This can happen in two ways. The first, more common way is when your artery that transports blood to the brain gets clogged. This is known as an Ischemic stroke.
The less common type of stroke is known as a Hemorrhagic stroke. This is when a blood vessel breaks and bleeds into the brain.
Both, as you have already guessed, can be fatal.
But stroke doesn’t just lead to death. Even if you survive, there’s a significant chance that you might suffer from a disability. Stroke is one of the nation’s leading causes of disability, as well.
Thankfully, all is not lost.
There are certain things you can do to mitigate those risks.
As the saying goes, you are what you eat.
Stroke can be triggered by high levels of blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol, so be extra wary if you’re the kind who constantly craves salty dishes, red meats or processed foods.
In general, you should do well with a balanced diet, with everything in moderation – including plenty of greens and wholegrains.
Cut down on alcohol
Here’s some bad news for heavy drinkers: excessive alcohol consumption increases the risk of stroke significantly. This happens because of several factors.
Firstly, drinking too much can lead to high blood pressure, triggering irregular heartbeats – which can be a pre-cursor to stroke.
Secondly, your favourite alcoholic beverages are incredibly high in calories – which you guessed it – causes weight gain.
Don’t forget your cardio
Being overweight increases your risks of a stroke.
Thankfully, with the combination of a healthy diet (see above) and regular exercise, you have a good chance of warding it off.
By working out often, you can lower your cholesterol, and keep your blood pressure levels healthy.
In addition, you also get to mitigate other underlying ailments which might lead to complications if you get a stroke.
While you might be tempted to sign up for a fancy gym membership, or spin class, this doesn’t necessarily need to be the case.
In Singapore, there’s a wide range of areas to work out in for little to no money– whether it’s park connectors, nature reserves, or the good ol’ fitness corner. You could do anything from cycling to jogging.
The minimum weekly recommendation for adults is 150 minutes per week of moderate to vigorous physical activity, sport or exercise, in 10 minute (or longer) sessions.
Bin those cigarettes
Apart from giving you smoker’s breath and yellow teeth, cigarettes also because it narrows your arteries and makes your blood more likely to clot, increasing the risk for stroke.
In case you’re still not convinced, here’s further motivation: not smoking will also lower your chances of getting lung cancer, as well as heart disease.
Did we also mention smoking is expensive? Objectively, it’s just not a financially savvy habit. Yikes.
Last but not least, get adequate coverage
We all agree that prevention is better than cure. However, none of the solutions above can completely guarantee you will never get a stroke. Life’s just unfair that way.
We hope for the best, and prepare for the worst. That’s where insurance comes in. For strokes, the main types of insurance to look at are:
Hospitalisation plan. To cover hospital bills when you’re recovering from a stroke.
Critical illness plan. This policy is meant to replace the income you lose, if you get a stroke.
Disability plan. As mentioned above, strokes are the seventh leading reason for adult disability in Singapore – there’s a chance of permanent disability.
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