Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada

Cardiovascular disease and strokes are two of the most prevalent medical issues in developed countries. It is estimated that in Canada alone, there are around 1.6 million individuals dealing with heart disease or the consequences of a stroke. Each year, about 350,000 people continue to be hospitalized due to heart conditions or after experiencing a stroke. In an effort to diminish these numbers, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada was formed. Here is their story:

History of the Foundation

The precursor to the present foundation was started over sixty years ago. The National Heart Foundation of Canada encompassed a group of doctors and researchers dedicated to overcoming the statistics of heart disease. In 1952, the Ottawa branch of the Foundation was opened. This was followed by the launch of the British Columbia institution in 1955. The following year saw the emergence of the Quebec and the Saskatchewan Foundations as well. In 1961, the institution underwent rebranding and titled themselves the Canadian Heart Foundation.

Some years later, the Foundation grew to take on the plight of strokes as well, renaming themselves the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. Since shortly after its inception, the Foundation has been responsible for raising over 1.39 billion dollars for research on strokes and cardiovascular diseases. This is particularly impressive considering that the Foundation receives no governmental support, and instead relies on independent donors.

The Goals

The aim of the Foundation is based on three separate sections: prevention, treatment, and recovery. One of the main goals of the Foundation is to prevent the occurrence of heart disease and stroke in the younger generations. This is being done by encouraging individuals, particularly younger people, to start living healthier lives. The Foundation encourages families and individuals alike to change their diets and lifestyles to ensure that they are at lower risk for being diagnosed with cardiovascular diseases. It also decreases the possibility of experiencing a stroke. The second aim involves treating those who are already victims of heart disease or stroke. In part, this is about getting the public as well as medical personnel to respond to heart problems and strokes in a timelier manner. The Foundation is striving to improve the emergency responses regarding these medical conditions. This is in order to improve the outcome of those afflicted with cardiovascular diseases or strokes. Finally, the Foundation focuses on recovery. There are often residual effects associated with heart problems and stroke. This can make it quite difficult for the afflicted to lead normal lives. The Foundation is concerned with making sure that these survivors receive the best care possible. They also want to ensure that family members and caretakers alike are also receiving the necessary support.

The Strategies

There are several ways that the Foundation is proposing to reduce the onset of heart problems and stroke among Canadians. One of these programs targets school-age children. The Foundation is involved with over 4000 schools around the country in order to alter the way that people are living their lives. The "Jump Rope for Heart" is one such endeavour. For adults, the Foundation is using Health Check in tandem with restaurants and grocers to help people to identify healthy food. The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada is also concerned with reducing the number of people smoking.

The Foundation is also involved in better treatment. The institution is managing this by helping people to identify the symptoms of a stroke, cardiac arrests, and heart attacks. They are also encouraging people to act quickly and efficiently when faced with such circumstances. This also includes educating the public about the necessary steps to take when encountering someone in this condition. Finally, they are also attempting to standardize healthcare for stroke and heart disease patients across the country.

The Foundation's final goal is to cater to the survivors. First and foremost, the Foundation is concerned with providing those affected, as well as their families, with the appropriate information. They should also be supplied with materials that will help them to overcome their ailments. These individuals, furthermore, should be presented with guidance regarding the healthcare system. It would also help to allow the afflicted individuals to unite with others in similar circumstances. The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada has been serving the citizens of the country for over six decades. Under their care, the rates of stroke and heart disease have significantly subsided. These individuals continue their work in the hopes that these statistics reduce even further.

Borrowing to Meet Unexpected Medical Expenses

Canada has an excellent healthcare system, even compared to other developed countries (read United States). Canadians can be assured that if there's an emergency medical situation, such as one that requires lifesaving surgery, their health insurance plan will cover the cost. However, not all medical expenses are covered by state or provincial health insurance plans, and not all are tax deductible either. If by chance an average Canadian succumbs to one of these uncovered illnesses, he or she will be in a serious financial bind. It is common knowledge that Canada's health costs have skyrocketed in recent years. The average Canadian can end up spending as much as $1,500 per year on personal medical expenses such as prescription drugs. Since 2005, the personal medical expenses of middle-income Canadians have risen by 12 percent, according to data published by the Canadian Institute for Health Information. Such medical expenses, when not covered by insurance, have to be paid out of the consumer's pocket.

Middle and low income Canadians often struggle to repay personal medical expenses out of pocket. It's no secret that living expenses in Canada have gone up and wages have stagnated. Most Canadians are already burdened by hefty mortgages and personal loans, so adding medical expenses to the list can push some families towards bankruptcy. If a person succumbs to an illness that insurance won't pay for, he or she has only two options: forego treatment altogether, or borrow money to cover the medical expenses.

Is It Wise to Borrow Money for Medical Expenses?

Paying for unexpected medical expenses is not the same as borrowing money to buy a car. The patients often have no choice. It's either take it or compromise long-term health. This is often a no brainer. However, Canadian consumers can be careful about where the loans come from, even if they are for covering medical expenses. Loans like payday loans are easy to obtain and are often advertised as a good option to cover unexpected medical expenses. You can take out a payday loan, even with bad credit, and use it to pay medical bills. However, these loans often come with sky-high, and outright predatory interest rates, see here. Therefore, loans such as payday loans are best avoided for paying medical loans. There are other types of personal loans that are much more suited for covering health-related expenses. For example, a secured personal loan is a better alternative with lower interest rates in comparison. Essentially, the borrower will have to offer a valuable asset, like a boat or an expensive piece of jewelry, as collateral for the loan. Secured loans are reasonable and less predatory compared to many other loan offers for paying medical bills.

Who Provides Medical Loans in Canada?

There are lenders in Canada who specialise in providing medical loans. Companies like MediCard and Credit Medical offer loans specifically designed to cover health-related costs. Such services are confidential so borrowers do not have to disclose sensitive personal health information to a regular lender who does not guarantee privacy regarding such matters. These are a type of personal loan. Most are unsecured. Just like with other types of personal, medical loans are mostly easy to qualify for, see here. Customers will need to provide detailed information regarding income. Services are highly confidential when it comes to discussing the health issue at hand. Better yet, Canadians can get these specialised medical loans to cover elective surgery like cosmetic surgery.

Medical loans can be a lifesaver for some Canadians. However, consumers should not misunderstand medical loans, see here. They are not much different from other types of personal loans, and require repayment on time. They may have lower interest rates, but these can add up quickly and make existing debt larger. Customers should also heed all the usual precautions regarding borrowing from private moneylenders when applying for a medical loan.