Have you been declined for life insurance or asked to pay a higher rate due to diabetes?
The management of diabetes is vital to well-being and insurability
Diabetes Mellitus is a metabolic disease that can be controlled but never cured. It affects 10 percent of the population and is a growing problem in the United States due to sedentary lifestyles and rampant obesity. Diabetes occurs when levels of the hormone insulin, which is produced by the pancreas, are inadequate to breakdown glucose in the body. When food is eaten, it breaks down into glucose which fuels the body.Insulin aids in the processing of glucose. Too little or no insulin causes glucose levels too rise and spill into the urine. This insulin imbalance deprives cells of energy and leaves excess glucose in the blood stream. Individuals under the age of forty who develop diabetes comprise 5 – 10 percent of all diabetics. They often experience serious symptoms and are diagnosed quickly. Diabetics identified after age forty usually develop the disease more gradually. It is not uncommon for diabetics to be diagnosed as the result of blood and urine studies performed as part of a routine insurance exam. Management of diabetes is considered key to a living a normal life and insurability after diagnosis.
Other related medical conditions (or medical terminology) include Type 1 / Type 2 Diabetes, Elevated Sugar Levels, Mild Diabetes, High Blood Sugar, Pre-Diabetic, Insulin Dependent Diabetic, and Diet Controlled Diabetes. Learn more information on receiving a term life insurance quote with these medical conditions from our life insurance specialists.
The Types and Treatment of Diabetes
Prior to the discovery of insulin in 1921, a diagnosis of diabetes was considered a death sentence. Diabetes is one of the leading causes of death today and contributes to the deaths of more than 200,000 Americans each year. There are three classifications of diabetes:
- Type I Diabetes: Referred to as Juvenile or Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus (IDDM), Type I is an autoimmune disease which means that the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the insulin producing cells in the pancreas.Type I diabetics, who tend to be children and young adults, must take insulin, by injection or intravenous pump several times a day to control the disease and survive. It is often the most serious form of the disease as it typically starts earlier in life and has a greater impact on life expectancy.
- Type II Diabetes: Known as adult onset or Non Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus (NIDDM), Type II is the most common form of diabetes affecting older adults. It occurs when the pancreas produces adequate insulin, but the body develops insulin resistance which prevents the body from using the insulin effectively. It develops gradually and may cause fatigue, nausea, frequent urination, unusual thirst, blurred vision, frequent infections and slow healing of wounds. Approximately 20 percent of people age 70 and older have this condition. It can be controlled with a special diet, weight loss, exercise and medications.
- Gestational Diabetes: It develops during pregnancy and may disappear following delivery. Mothers who had gestational diabetes are at risk for developing Type II diabetes later in life.
Once diagnosed, diabetics must constantly monitor their blood sugar levels and adjust them with insulin injections and oral medications along with diet modification and exercise. When blood sugar drops too low or elevates too high, conditions known as hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia, a diabetic may experience nervousness, shakiness, confusion or fainting. Management of diabetes is critical because left uncontrolled it can lead to heart and circulatory disease, blindness, stroke, kidney failure, amputations, nerve damage and even death. Female diabetics face the additional worry of the disease complicating pregnancies and causing birth defects.
How Insurers View Diabetes
Insurers are more interested in the success a diabetic has had with treatment in controlling the disease than the type of diabetes. They will request basic information to develop a profile of your disease management. Expect to provide the following information:
- Age at diagnosis
- Recent results of the Glycohemoglobin HbA1C test
- Details of any complications
- Details about abnormal lab values
- Evidence of medical monitoring (regular medical check-ups)
Demonstrating efforts to achieve the best possible health will improve the chances of receiving better insurance rates. Diabetics who work regularly with their physician to maintain good overall health including excellent blood pressure and good cholesterol levels, who regularly exercise and who have recent normal cardiac evaluations will enhance the probability of getting a good rate. Those diabetics who do not pursue good health nor work regularly with their physicians, who abuse nicotine and alcohol, or whose medical records point to uncontrolled high blood pressure, bad cholesterol readings, evidence of kidney disease, existing heart disease, a history of strokes and other vascular conditions will find themselves facing higher rates or possible denial.