High Blood Pressure and Life Insurance Quotes
High blood pressure is also referred to as hypertension and affects millions of Americans. In is a dangerous and potentially lethal condition that requires active treatment and monitoring in those people who are aware they have it. Unfortunately, as many as 1 in 3 people don’t exhibit any symptoms and are not aware they suffer from high blood pressure, giving this disease it’s nickname of “the silent killer.” The only way to confirm whether or not you have high blood pressure is through regular checkups.
While high blood pressure can lead to a variety of debilitating conditions, most life insurance companies will offer policies to those who have it under certain circumstances.
The Facts Behind High Blood Pressure
In simple terms, high blood pressure is a condition in which the pressure of blood against the walls of arteries is too high which can lead to a variety of serious medical problems. Some of those include:
Stroke – high blood pressure is the leading cause of strokes.
Heart disease – including atherosclerosis, which is a narrowing of the walls of your arteries.
Aneuryism – when the walls of your arteries become so weak that they rupture, the resulting break can be fatal.
Renal failure – also known as kidney failure.
Before these manifest themselves, a person may experience symptoms of high blood pressure that can include headaches, dizziness, fainting, lightheadedness, blurred vision and ringing in the ears. If these persist, they should be reported to your doctor immediately.
Blood pressure is measured by comparing two measurements. The systolic pressure measures the heart during a contraction and diastolic pressure measures the heart at rest. A blood pressure reading is then the combination of the two and is read as systolic/diastolic pressure.
It’s estimated that about 90 million Americans suffer from high blood pressure which is defined as having a blood pressure reading that is 140/90 or greater.
There are several types of medications that are prescribed for high blood pressure. If you are seeking a life insurance policy, your underwriter will want to know exactly what kind of medication or combination of medications you are on to combat this condition. Each type will work in a variety of ways to lower your blood pressure and bring it back down to an acceptable level
Diuretics work on the kidneys to remove salt and water from a person’s body. This results in less blood circulating throughout your system, and with less blood circulating, your blood pressure will go down. These “water pills” are a first line of defense against high blood pressure and include prescriptions such as Lasix, Midamor, Lozol, and Aldactone, among others.
Beta-Blockers slow down a person’s heartbeat. This relaxes the heart and keeps it from pumping so hard. With less force pulsating through your bloodstream, your blood pressure goes down. Some examples of this kind of drug include Inderal, Lopressor, Cartrol, Sectral and Zebeta.
Alpha-Blockers relax your blood vessels by telling your nerve impulses that cause your blood vessels to tighten, to ease up instead. When your blood vessels are relaxed, your blood pressure goes down. Examples include Cardura, Hytrin and Minipress.
ACE Inhibitors are also known as angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors. This medication stops your body from making angiotensin II, which is a hormone that causes blood vessels to tighten. With less of this hormone in your body, your blood flows through more relaxed blood vessels. Some examples of this type of drug include Capoten, Monopril, Univasc and Vasotec.
ARBs are also known as angiotensin II receptor blockers. This medication blocks angiotensin II from working to tighten blood vessels, thus relaxing the flood of blood throughout the body. Examples include Avapro, Diovan and Micardis.
Calcium Channel Blockers prevent calcium from entering into muscle cells in your blood vessels and your heart. This prevents your blood vessels from tightening so much and also slows your heart rate, causing blood to flow more freely. Examples include Cardizem, Norvasc and Adalat.
Central Agonists target the brain’s receptors to lower blood pressure. Examples include Aldomet and Tenex, among others.
There are other classes of drugs as well that can be used to combat high blood pressure, but the important thing to remember is that finding the right drug, or combination of drugs may require some trial and error to figure out what works best for a particular situation.
The Keys to Obtaining Life Insurance
While taking blood pressure medications can increase your premium rates, if the medications reduce your blood pressure, then your premium costs may be offset if you fall below certain blood pressure thresholds. Also, by taking medications, you will be taking more control of a life threatening situation, which insurance companies always view in a favorable light.
- You may obtain a regular premium rate if your blood pressure is 150/90 or lower with medications.
- You may obtain a preferred premium rate if your blood pressure is 140/90 or lower with medication or 150/90 or lower without medications.
- You can get a preferred plus rating if your blood pressure is 140/90 or lower without medications.
These rates assume that you have no other negative health conditions that will adversely affect your premium.
In addition to taking medications, an insurance company will also want to see that you are taking other steps to control your high blood pressure above and beyond taking medications. This will include improving your lifestyle by reducing the amount of salt you eat, getting exercise on a regular basis, losing weight and reducing or eliminating alcohol and nicotine based products from your life.
Insurance providers will also want to know how long it has been since you’ve been diagnosed with high blood pressure. If you have had it for two years or more, your medical records will provide the insurer with a good amount of forensic medical evidence to show how active and successful you have been in treating your condition. Related to this, providers will be interested in knowing what kinds of medical tests you’ve had over the past year, looking for results from blood cholesterol tests and ECGs to document your current state of health.
Part of what providers will also look for is whether or not you have been hospitalized for hypertension or not. In cases where blood pressure rises to 190/100 or greater, this can signal a case of severe hypertension and that you may not be doing everything you can to control your condition. It may also signal that you aren’t able to control your condition, and may lead to a company to decline coverage for you.
Some life insurance companies offer policies specifically for people with medical conditions, and if you are turned down through a mainstream provider due to high blood pressure, you can seek these higher risk providers to obtain the coverage you are looking for.