At 6:30am on a Monday morning, Abby Bloom was driving south through the Sydney Harbour Tunnel when she felt a tightening feeling, possibly swelling, in the throat. The debilitating sensation progressed rapidly and within minutes her arms "felt useless". She pulled into a breakdown bay and asked her 17-year-old daughter to drive her to nearby St Vincent's Hospital. "It was unlike anything I have ever experienced," says Abby, who at the time was not yet 50.
It took a while for doctors to identify that Abby had suffered a heart attack, because she had no known family history of heart disease (her mother was a sprightly 89 at the time) and no other risk factors. At her most recent check-up, her cholesterol levels were slightly elevated but still within the normal range. The day before her heart attack Abby had been kayaking solo on Sydney Harbour; she'd spent the previous week bushwalking in Central Australia.
Abby was extremely lucky. She was treated within the "golden hour" after the onset of symptoms, when many people die from heart attack, and underwent angioplasty to insert a stent in her heart. "There was no muscle damage and I felt better than new, "says Abby, who could not walk 50 metres after the operation but with supervised cardiac rehabilitation was soon jogging 45 minutes a day. "I am aware that time may be very limited and that has me working to accomplish all that I want to, professionally and personally... a different way to ‘smell the roses'." Since then, Abby has started three new biotech companies and part-purchased an occupational rehabilitation company.
Every day, more than 100 Australians suffer a major coronary event and about half will live to tell the tale.* The Heart Foundation says cardiovascular disease affects two in every three families.
According to the Heart Foundation, cardiovascular disease:
- kills one Australian every 10 minutes
- affects more than 3.5 million Australians
- prevents 1.4 million people living full lives
due to disability
- costs Australians $14.2 billion (1.7% of GDP) in direct and indirect health costs.
When was the last time you saw your doctor to check your blood pressure, cholesterol and other heart health risk factors?
In the event of a serious health blow, such as a heart attack, the last thing you should have to worry about is money. That's what prompted Dr Marius Barnard to help develop Trauma Insurance in the 80s. All too often, Dr Barnard, whose cardiac surgeon brother Christian performed the world's first heart transplant in 1967, would watch his brother's patients recover from heart attack only to be left financially devastated by the experience.
Trauma Insurance pays a lump sum on the diagnosis of a specified illness or injury, including heart attack and stroke. You can spend the benefit however you want - to pay off the mortgage, cover out-of-pocket medical/rehabilitation costs or fund an extended holiday to help you recuperate.
To find out more about Trauma Insurance, speak to your financial planner.
* Australian Institute of Health & Welfare
Source: Zurich Australia Limited
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