How high blood pressure can affect your life insurance premiums

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High blood pressure is a common affliction, so common in fact that it affects tens of millions of people. Life insurance companies however consider it to be an additional risk factor when providing policies.

In most cases, even if you have high blood pressure, you will be able to get life insurance, but the premiums might be higher than they would be for a person who does not have it.

In some extreme instances, an insurance company might even decline your life insurance application as a result of your blood pressure.

Much depends upon the company that you apply to for insurance. There are many different companies, and each tends to have a somewhat different view of the significance of high blood pressure.

If you have high blood pressure, be sure to shop around for the companies that will offer the best rates.

The effect of high blood pressure on premiums

Life insurance companies will raise premiums to account for the various risks that are caused by high blood pressure. It is often an early indicator of cardiovascular disease, such as stroke and heart attack.

Life insurance companies will look at your overall health, including lifestyle and habits, the relationship of your weight to your height, the frequency of exercise and of course, the specific level of your blood pressure.

Acceptable blood pressure ranges

A life insurance company’s underwriters will take a close look at your most recent blood pressure readings, as well as your history with the ailment.

There are specific blood pressure level readings that will determine what your status is as a risk for life insurance:

  • Regular. This generally requires readings that do not exceed 150/90 controlled by medications. Readings may be higher for older age groups, for example those over 50, and those over 60.
  • Preferred. You might be considered a preferred risk if your readings are under 140/90 controlled by medication, or 150/90 without medication. This would entitle you to somewhat lower premiums than those in the regular classification.
  • Preferred Plus. If your blood pressure readings are under 140/90 and you are not on any medications, you are not considered to have high blood pressure and therefore you would be eligible for the lowest possible premiums.

What you can do to improve your premiums with high blood pressure

There are certain steps that you can take to improve your chances of getting life insurance with high blood pressure, or at least doing so at lower premiums.

  • Treat your blood pressure. Since high blood pressure is a condition that generally produces no immediate medical problems, there is often a tendency to ignore it. A life insurance company may decline your policy as a result. Be sure that you are getting regular checkups and are taking any medication required to control your blood pressure.
  • Give up bad habits. High blood pressure is usually aggravated by certain bad habits. Smoking, excessive alcohol consumption and over-eating are three common contributors to the condition. If you indulge in any of them, begin cutting back as soon as possible, with the goal of total elimination.
  • Lose a few pounds. Excess weight puts greater strain on the heart and that can increase blood pressure. You may be able to lower your readings a few points by losing a few pounds.
  • Exercise. Vigorous physical activity has been shown to have beneficial effects on high blood pressure. Start a regular exercise regimen, even if only a moderate one. Walking two or three miles per day can help lower your blood pressure. Being completely sedentary, on the other hand, can make high blood pressure worse.
  • Watch your diet. Various foods, such as salt, caffeine, and excess fats can have a negative effect on blood pressure. Avoid processed foods, and add more fruits and vegetables to your diet.
  • Learn to relax. Stress is a major contributor to high blood pressure. While it is not possible to completely eliminate stress from your life, you can engage in activities that will help to counter the effect. Meditation and other forms of relaxation can help to calm you down and give you a more balanced outlook on life. As that change comes about, you may gradually see your blood pressure come down.

If you are applying for life insurance, work with companies that have a more positive view of blood pressure as a risk factor. And do all that you can to control and improve your blood pressure through your own activities and lifestyle habits.

This article originally appeared on MCMHA.org and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

Featured Image Credit: Depositphotos.

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