Our medical history plays a huge part in getting approved for life insurance. Unfortunately, not all of our medical history is under our own control. Some of it is due to our genetic makeup.
High blood pressure can be a part of that genetic makeup; it tends to run in families and is more likely to affect men than women. But it is also influenced by lifestyle, meaning there may be some things we can do to to change the trajectory of the disease.
High blood pressure is considered a pre-existing condition, which is considered a risk by most insurance companies. In the meantime, you need life insurance, but before you get that underwriter’s approval, a medical exam has been requested.
You’ve already made your agent aware of your medical history and how you’re working to maintain it. The application won’t lie about the medical history and the underwriters will know it exists. However, if your pressure is below the norm for this exam, you just might not get rated on your insurance.
How can you lower your blood pressure for a life insurance exam? If it’s too high, the underwriters will know it is not under control and will be concerned that this will continue to be a long-term issue for you. They can rate your insurance by raising the rates, or worse, they can choose to deny you insurance altogether.
How Will a Medical Exam Affect My Ability to Get Life Insurance?
Chronic conditions or pre-existing conditions require ongoing treatment. High blood pressure, being a chronic condition is no different. The severity of your condition will determine the type of rating you receive for a life insurance policy.
This means the more control you have over your condition, the better your rates. So, when you’re requested to have a medical exam, you know your pre-existing condition is already counted against you.
You want to ensure that the medical exam shows you as someone that although you have a chronic condition, you are maintaining it and keeping it at a level that’s not a severe threat to your health, if not reversing it.
So now, you need to know how to lower your blood pressure for a life insurance exam.
What Can You Do to Lower Your Blood Pressure for a Life Insurance Exam?
Schedule an appointment at the best time of the day
Studies show that blood pressure peaks in the early afternoon. It’s usually lower in the morning and rises through to the early afternoon. It tends to level off by late afternoon.
If you have a say in the exam time, consider scheduling it in the morning or late afternoon. This will provide an opportunity for your reading to possibly be a little lower than normal.
Fast Completely or a Partial Fast
Fasting prior to your exam may seem like a difficult and unwarranted ask, but it could prove to be beneficial in the long run. Several things can contribute to someone having high blood pressure.
Among them are too much salt in the diet and too much alcohol consumption. Too much of either of these can contribute to your blood pressure increasing.
Fasting by staying away from certain foods and drink, particularly alcohol and foods that contain a lot of sodium, may help to keep the pressure a little lower than what it would usually be. If it causes a better blood pressure reading, it’s worth the sacrifice.
Even a partial fast can benefit you if you fast from the right foods. Avoiding red meat can help lower your blood pressure. So instead of eating red meats, consider fish and chicken. They’re much better for your blood pressure.
The electrolytes in potassium-rich foods are good for helping to control blood flow and the heartbeat. If you have to eat something during your fast, try eating a banana within an hour or two of the exam.
Stay Away From Caffeine
It’s also true that smoking and caffeine can both contribute to a higher blood pressure reading. Stay away from these at least a few hours before your exam. I know these two are extremely hard habits to break, but you can enjoy them again following the exam.
Again, remember the goal here is to have a good outcome of your medical exam to get life insurance. It’s well worth the sacrifice … yet again.
Drink Beet Juice and/or Water
Now that we know the drinks to stay away from, consider drinking something that actually helps to lower the blood pressure — beet juice. Beet juice contains nitrate, a component that dilates blood vessels and increases blood flow. A 20 oz. drink an hour or two before the exam should help significantly.
Water is also a good drink option. Water flushes out sodium. Drink a glass of water all at one time rather than sipping throughout the day. This affects the blood pressure faster.
For 95% of high blood pressure cases in the U.S., the underlying reason has not been found. Stress is a major contributor to high blood pressure. While there is no proof that stress by itself causes long-term high blood pressure, how we react from being stressed increases our risk of high blood pressure.
When we feel stressed, some of the ways we deal with it is: smoking, drinking alcohol, and eating unhealthy foods. All three of these can cause high blood pressure. If stress is an issue for you, you need to deal with it in better ways.
If leading up to the exam, you find yourself dealing with a lot of stress, here are some ways to handle it that won’t negatively affect your health:
- Simplify your schedule – In fact, reschedule some things if you need to. If you have a lot going on during that time, try to make it your business to do less.
- Relax – With more time on your hands, you can now take the time to just relax. Sometimes just coming to a doctor’s office can bring about stress. Now that your calendar is a little lighter, be sure to leave a little earlier than normal just so you can have some time to breathe and relax while you’re waiting in the waiting room.
- Exercise – Exercising three to five times a week for 30 minutes is a good regiment even when you aren’t getting an exam. Just be sure to check with your doctor on the types of exercise that are best for you.
- Do Yoga and Meditation – This is something to consider incorporating into your lifestyle regularly. Overall, it’s relaxing and helps relieve stress.
- Go to bed at a reasonable hour – Prepare to get a night’s restful sleep. This will help you to awake refreshed and ready to face anything.
Request Two Readings
It’s no secret that being in a doctor’s office can sometimes be stressful. The stress of being there alone can cause your reading to go up a few numbers.
Suggest a second reading after about five or 10 minutes, when you’ve had a chance to breathe and relax. Have him do an average of the two readings.
What Happens after the Exam?
Whether the exam goes the way you want it to or not, what happens after the exam? Is it back to life as usual? For you, that may mean more high blood pressure readings.
Wouldn’t it be nice to not have to worry about having to disguise future readings? What if you were denied coverage and after a year, you decide you want to apply for life insurance again hoping for a different outcome? Or what if you got rated and decided you needed a lower rate?
With a reconsideration, you want your current insurer to review updated medical records and medical exam results. With this, you are asking for a rate reduction.
You would need to take another medical exam. After this review, they can decide to lower your rates or keep them as they are. It’s unlikely they will increase your rates.
In either case, you will need a medical exam, and you will again need to know how to lower your blood pressure for a life insurance exam.
While all of the suggestions mentioned above were for lowering your blood pressure temporarily, consider incorporating some of these health-changing strategies in your life regularly. High blood pressure is usually the first sign of other health conditions to come.
Changing your reading permanently involves changing your lifestyle. Any one of the strategies above can make a big difference in your health if done consistently.
Choosing life insurance is a good choice for your family. Choosing the right life insurance is even more important. At NextGen Life Insurance, we work with people all over the country to get them the best insurance rates.
Regardless of your situation, you need to make sure your policy fits your needs. While pre-existing conditions affect the type of policy you can get approved for, there are many options out there. We want to ensure you’re covered.
Get your free quote today or call us at 646-216-4199 to get started.