Need an insurance check-up?
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is easier than you think.
By taking some straightforward tests and implementing simple lifestyle changes, you could substantially improve your health and reduce the risk of suffering a life-threatening trauma.
The risk of illness
Unfortunately, diseases and illnesses such as cancer, diabetes and strokes are increasingly common as we enjoy longer but more sedentary lives.
One in four Australian women and one in three men will be diagnosed with cancer by the time they are 75*. And the number of new cancer cases diagnosed in Australia is projected to rise to 115,400 a year by 2011**.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is Australia’s leading cause of death, accounting for more than a third of all deaths in 2006. It kills one Australian every 10 minutes and two out of every three families have been touched by some form of CVD, such as heart attack, stroke or cardiac arrest^.
Diabetes is Australia’s fastest growing chronic disease. An estimated 275 Australians develop the condition every day, with 890,000 currently diagnosed with diabetes – and a similar number remain undiagnosed. By 2031, it is projected that 3.3 million Australians will develop type 2 diabetes^^, the most common form of the illness.
Fortunately there are ways to minimise the risk of developing a life-threatening illness, simply by monitoring your health and improving your fitness. Consider the following:
Do you measure up? Four ways to test your health
- Measure your waist
Your waist size is a more accurate measurement of your weight than body mass index (BMI), which doesn’t take into account muscle or weight distribution. The simplest way to monitor your weight is to measure your waist, level with your navel. A waist measurement of more than 80 cm for women and 94 cm for men could place you at higher risk of contracting a disease or illness.
- Test your blood pressure
High blood pressure can lead to a heart attack, heart failure, stroke or kidney disease. While there is no ‘ideal’ blood pressure, a normal reading is considered to be less than 140/90.
- Test your blood glucose
The normal blood glucose level ranges between 3.5 and 7.8 millimoles per litre (mmol/L). Blood glucose levels outside of this range can be an indicator of diabetes.
- Monitor your cholesterol
High blood cholesterol is a major risk factor for coronary heart disease and even some types of stroke. A total blood cholesterol level above 5.5 mmol/L increases your risk of developing coronary heart disease.
Four steps to a healthier lifestyle
- Give up cigarettes and avoid passive smoking
Smoking is a major cause of heart disease, stroke and several different forms of cancer, as well as a wide variety of other health problems. Stopping smoking brings immediate and lasting health benefits, regardless of your age or gender.
- Eat a healthy diet
Most Australians eat only half the amount of fruit and vegetables recommended for good health. Adults should aim to eat at least two serves of fruit and five serves of vegetables every day.
- Exercise for 30 minutes on five or more days per week
Incorporating 30 minutes of moderate physical activity into your daily routine can lead to improvements in blood pressure, blood cholesterol and body weight.
- Drink alcohol in moderation
While one or two standard drinks per day may do no harm (assuming you are otherwise in reasonable health), excessive alcohol increases your risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke as well as many other health problems. Everyone should have at least one or two alcohol-free days per week.
While we hope you take the right steps to maintain a healthy lifestyle, the reality is that a traumatic health event can still happen and it’s vital that you and your family have adequate financial protection.
What would happen if you were incapacitated by a serious illness? How would you cover financial necessities such as mortgage repayments, bills and school fees?
It’s important to set aside some time to review your insurance each year. We can help you determine the type of insurance and the level of cover that’s right for your circumstances and lifestyle.
* Australia’s Health 2008 (Australian Institute of Health & Welfare)
** Australia’s Health 2006 (Australian Instituteof Health& Welfare) and Australian Cancer Research Foundation.
^ Heart Foundation
^^ Diabetes Australia