Statistical research from the Stroke Association has revealed that stroke incidences have increased by 25% in working men aged from 20 to 64 since 2000. However, that 25% rate increases alarmingly for working men aged from 40 to 54, doubling to reach 50%. Comparatively, women from the same age group had a much lower rate of 30%.
In attempting to clarify the alarming figures, John Barrick of the Stroke Association explained that high blood pressure has proven a catalyst in many cases: “One of the major causes is high blood pressure, and often that is something people do not realise they have.”
Barrick explained that high blood pressure cannot be exclusively attributed to drinking and smoking. Poor diet, high salt consumption, lack of exercise, and obesity all contribute to raising blood pressure, in turn causing more strokes among working men. Strokes have been widely associated with the elderly, but this fresh research indicates that a change in perception is needed.
Over 9.2 million people in the UK are living with high blood pressure. A pressing concern for the Stroke Association is that the percentage of UK residents diagnosed with stroke has increased year on year from 2005 to 2013.
Source: Stroke Association, 2015
The Stroke Association estimates that a further 6.8 million are living with undiagnosed high blood pressure, a condition that has contributed to 54% of strokes in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Below is a 2013/14 country-by-country breakdown of high blood pressure prevalence in the UK.
Source: Stroke Association, 2015
At 15.6%, Wales is clearly above the 13.8% average for high blood pressure in the UK. In fact, it is the Welsh rate that has driven up the overall UK average. Scotland at 13.9% and England at 13.7% are relatively close to the average of 13.8%. Only Northern Ireland is noticeably lower with a rate of 13.0%.
Although preventing strokes is of the utmost importance, time must also be dedicated to helping victims. John Barrick of the Stroke Association said, unfortunately, that some employers are not giving victims enough understanding to aid their recovery: “Businesses play a crucial role in helping stroke survivors get back into the workplace and on the road to recovery. That’s why we’re calling on employers to be aware of the physical and emotional impact of stroke.”
Sky News recently reported on a 44-year-old female stroke victim called Rebecca Nightingale, who works as a banker. She left work one evening after yet another long day in the office, completely unaware that she had high blood pressure. A stroke later followed on the train home: “You always think of it as being an old person’s thing and I just thought ‘it can’t be a stroke. I am too young at 44’.”
Despite returning to work on a part-time basis, Rebecca spoke of a nervousness among her employers regarding her return. However, she did explain this was likely due to a lack of awareness, postulating that this was first for them.
Following the research, Barrick and the Stroke Association is calling for UK companies to devote more time to understanding the physical and emotional impact of strokes. By understanding those elements, it will become easier to help victims return to their old jobs and reclaim their lives.
Companies would also be wise to implement steps to ensure a higher level of general wellbeing among their respective workforces. Encouraging employees to eat healthier and get more exercise will help to reduce blood pressure as well as stress. A healthier and happier workforce will take fewer sick days and contribute a higher standard of work in the long-term.
Like other serious medical conditions, a myriad of insurance implications arise for stroke victims. For those who held medical insurance in advance of their attack, they will be covered throughout their treatment and rehabilitated back to health. The alternative would be to receive NHS stroke treatment for those who did not have medical insurance.
In the future, stroke victims will encounter difficulties in obtaining medical insurance. For anyone in good health and considering medical insurance, the best advice is to not hold back. There is simply no telling what is in your future. An unforeseen medical condition might preclude you from paying lower premiums.
Also worth touching upon is the business side of strokes. Many companies are dependent on outstanding individuals to maintain success year after year. The sudden loss of such impressive employees would likely result in loss of revenue.
A common strategy for guarding against such a risk is to obtain a type of policy known as key man insurance. Quite simply, this will protect companies against the loss of specific employees. For further information on these policies, you can take a moment to check out our brief video explanation below.
— MyKeyManInsurance (@MyKeyFinance) May 26, 2015