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The “Silent Killer” that Most Critical Illness Cover Fails to Recognise

Critical illness cover is designed to provide a payment to you in the event that you are diagnosed with a predetermined critical illness that is included in your policy. Every policy will be different and so it’s important to ensure any illness you need to be covered, is – you might be surprised at what illnesses are not included.

This does not constitute advice and advice should be sought in all instances before acting on it.

Critical illness cover is perfect for individuals who want to protect their families financially in the event that you cannot work due to your diagnosis. The lump sum that your policy will provide you ensures you can keep your commitments and not have to worry about the unnecessary burden of how you’ll pay your bills.

Typical cover

Most common conditions will be covered including cancer, heart attacks and strokes, and sometimes bacterial meningitis, deafness, major organ transplants and even illnesses like Parkinson’s disease. However, there is a condition that many policies do not include, with potentially disastrous consequences.

The NHS has dubbed sepsis as the “silent killer,” responsible for 44,000 deaths every year. Despite the fact that it kills more people than bowel, breast, and prostate cancer combined, it is not well known. And surprisingly, is often not covered under critical illness cover.

What is sepsis?

Sepsis is a secondary condition; it’s a life-threatening complication from an infection that occurs as the result of chemicals getting released into the bloodstream in an attempt to battle the infection, in turn causing inflammatory reactions inside your body.

While it’s possible to contract sepsis from something as banal as slicing your finger with a knife, it is more likely the source would be an infection in one of your internal organs like your stomach, kidney, or lungs. There’s often no rhyme or reason as to who can be afflicted or what the root cause is. Fortunately, spreading awareness and receiving an early diagnosis will go a long way in helping to prevent escalation of the infection.

Each manifestation is different and volatile – the rate at which you become infected and how bad the infection gets varies, which undoubtedly contributes to the unfavourable reputation sepsis has gained. Serious cases may develop in a few short hours while others can take hold within days. If you contract sepsis and it progresses, you may go into septic induced shock and require admittance to hospital, with the most severe cases needing to be housed in intensive care. Sepsis can be deadly if left unchecked, especially when it affects your vital organs.


Luckily, if you are vigilant and bring up any concerns with your medical team as soon as you have them, you can beat it. As its nickname suggests, the reason it has been dubbed “the silent killer” is because it is so hard to diagnose. However, with early intervention antibiotics are extremely effective.

A few symptoms are similar to flu but this helpful acronym from the NHS will help you to identify this dangerous condition in adults (children’s symptoms are different):

There are providers out there that understand the devastation sepsis can cause and do include it as one of their conditions, so if you’re concerned, you’ll need to do your research and select the best policy for your needs.

For more information about critical illness policies that properly protect you, download our Factsheet, or for assistance integrating a policy into your comprehensive financial plan, get in touch with one of the experts here at Dental and Medical Financial Services.

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