Health history and life insurance go hand-in-hand, as insurance companies use this information to help determine life insurance premiums. They will also examine the health history of one’s family.
In lieu of February being American Heart Month, a study involving the correlation between heart health and physical activity was released by the American Heart Association with the assistance from the University of Oxford to help shed light on this issue.
The American Heart Association is no longer the only organization that keeps tabs on America’s health, as heart disease is a global issue.
Based on health data compiled from more than 190 countries, heart disease still remains the No. 1 global cause of death with 17.3 million deaths each year, according to “Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics – 2015 Update: A Report from the American Heart Association.” That number is expected to rise to more than 23.6 million by 2030, according to the report.
However, there is a good news because heart-related diseases and conditions can be reduced or even prevented with the appropriate lifestyle changes. A key aspect of this recent study focuses on the heart health of middle-aged women.
Middle-aged women who are physically active a few times per week have lower risks of heart disease, stroke and blood clots than inactive women, according to the study. The ideal routine would consist of strenuous physical activity – enough to cause sweating or a faster heart beat – two to three times per week.
Among the active women in the study, there was little evidence to prove that women who exceeded this physical activity level received any further reductions in risk. Physical activities associated with reduced risk including walking, gardening, and cycling.
“Inactive middle-aged women should try to do some activity regularly,” said Miranda Armstrong, M. Phil., Ph.D, the study’s lead author and physical activity epidemiologist at the University of Oxford. “However, to prevent heart disease, stroke and blood clots, our results suggest that women don’t need to do very frequent active as this seems to provide little additional benefits above that from moderately frequent activity.”
The study was published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation. Participants included 1.1 million women in the United Kingdom who had no history of cancer, heart disease, stroke, blood clots, or diabetes who also joined the Million Women study in 1996-2001.
The women in the study reported their level of physical activity at the beginning of the study and three years later. Researchers then examined hospital admissions and deaths in relation to participants’ responses. On average, follow-up was nine years.
For those seeking to better their heart health (as well as their overall health), the AHA recommends a website where people can learn how to improve their health by following “Life’s Simple 7”: get active, control cholesterol, eat better, manage blood pressure, lose weight, reduce blood sugar and stop smoking.
In 2010, the AHA made a goal to improve the cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20 percent and reduce deaths from cardiovascular disease and strokes by 20 percent by the year 2020. A similar initiative was made with the United National and international cardiology groups to adapt the AHA’s evidence-based programs on a global scale.
According to the AHA, an estimated 11.4 million deaths among 30 to 69-year-old and 15.9 million deaths among people 70 and older could be delayed or prevented in 2025 if global targets are met for reducing tobacco and alcohol use, decreasing salt intake, managing obesity and lowering blood pressure and glucose levels.
Even though heart-related conditions can be damaging to one’s health, life insurance may not be completely out of the question for these individuals. While life insurance companies will extend policies to people who have had heart-related problems, they underwrite them in a different way than they would for people who have not had one.
For instance, they will be very interested in the circumstances surrounding your heart troubles.
The first factor that they would take into consideration is the amount of time that has passed since you had a heart attack or a heart-related condition. As with any other health condition, the greater the time-frame, the more likely they will approve your policy at a much more favorable premium.
The second factor is evaluating the number of heart-related events you have had in your life. For example, a single heart attack is more favorable than if you had multiple attacks.
Unfortunately, you cannot control the last factor because it concerns your heredity. Insurance companies are always interested in your family’s health history, especially when it comes to heart disease. They will want to know if anyone in your immediate family has had a history of heart disease or heart attacks and any who died as a result.
If you or your family has a history of heart disease and wish to apply for life insurance, seek out a qualified life insurance agent as they can help guide you through the process.