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Can I get life insurance if I’ve had a heart attack?

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Don't miss these facts...
  • A heart attack is a serious event that can incapcitate or kill a person, but people also recover from heart attacks
  • Being approved for life insurance after having had a heart attach depends on the severity of the heart attack and the degree to which a person has recovered
  • If an individual is applying for life insurance after a heart attack, he or she should have detailed documentation from all of his medical doctors that detail the entire medical record of the event and his or her recovery
  • If a heart attack patient has recovered well from a heart attack and he or she is following doctor’s directives, it is possible for a former heart attack patient to receive standard rates on their life insurance
Most Heart attacks are caused by coronary artery disease, which occurs when the coronary arteries around the heart get plugged up and blocked so that blood cannot flow into the heart muscle itself.

A buildup of plaque builds up inside of the arteries over time and in the coronary arteries the flow of blood can be severely curtailed and can be blocked completely.

The heart muscles then stop receiving the necessary blood to survive, and the heart muscle can die from the shortage of blood.

Other causes can be the plaque that breaks off and forms a clot, which essentially causes the same problem like a blocked artery if the plaque is large enough to stop the blood flow.

The symptoms of a heart attack can vary, but very common ones include feelings of great fatigue, an ache in the back and shoulder muscles, chest pain, shortness of breath, pain, and weakness down the left arm, and sudden stabbing pain in the chest.

Sometimes these symptoms are very subtle and can be mistaken for normal aches and pains which can be very dangerous.

If there are any of these types of symptoms, a person should get right to the doctor or emergency room.

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The Heart

AdobeStock_51585475-1600x1600Our heart is the organ that pumps the blood throughout our bodies so oxygen can be spread to the various organs.

The oxygenated blood is pumped out of our heart through the aorta to the rest of the many areas and then returns to the heart and passing by the lungs where it picks up more oxygen to be pumped along the same route.

The heart is about the size of our fist, and it beats about 100,000 times per day, pumping 2,000 gallons of blood per day, and it is a workhorse.

By the time a person dies of old age, his heart will have expanded and contracted about 3.5 billion times. Without a properly functioning heart we cannot live, or if we do, it is at a limited capacity.

How Do Life Insurance Companies Look at Heart Attacks?

Obviously it is going to be more difficult for an individual who has a history of heart failure to obtain life insurance. Usually, there is a two-year wait until most companies will even consider a person for coverage after a heart attack.

There are a lot of factors that go into making that decision, and the better a person does during recovery, the more likely an underwriter will consider an offer.

When a person has a heart attack, there is usually part of the heart that becomes damaged to the point where the overall utility of the heart is lessened.If that is the case, a person’s longevity could certainly be curtailed.

What is interesting is that the heart will create extra-coronary arteries to compensate for the loss and other parts of the heart will attempt to shoulder the load.

This can be good, and it can be negative, but each case is different.

Home office medical doctors who help make the decisions in more complex and critical cases along with the home office underwriter look at all the information, so having everything in the way of medical records, access to as much information as possible is good.

The life insurance company will want as much of the medical records as possible, but you can get more too.

Have your cardiologist write a personal letter to the underwriter laying out the whole scenario and his prognosis for living the rest of life.

Here are some factors to consider regarding what an insurance company wants:

  • When did the heart attack occur and how was it treated?
  • What are the details of recovery, and is the applicant still having regular visits with a doctor?
  • What were the reasons the heart attack occurred and is the applicant changing anything in his or her lifestyle, so it possibly won’t happen again?
  • What is the current condition of the individual’s heart at present?

Prevention Tips

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  1. Check the weight, and if the individual is a bit pudgy, he or she should concentrate on getting some of the weight off, and keep it off
  2. If a person is a smoker – quit. It is that simple. Smoking is just plain stupid if you have had a heart condition unless you just want to not live very much longer. Nicotine is a terrible strain on the heart and circulatory system.
  3. Watch the diet. Cut out all sugar, fatty and greasy foods, and use olive oil. Eat lean meat like chicken and fish and plenty of vegetables.
  4. Get plenty of exercise. Walking is the best exercise as it is less impacting on the body and can be done in moderation. Doctors tell us to walk at least 30 minutes a day to stay healthy.

Steps to Recovery and a Long Life After a Heart Attack

If you have had a heart attack and want to ensure that life insurance companies will be more likely to take your risk, follow the rehabilitation procedures your doctors suggest.

One of the biggest measures that many people forget is exercise.

Many post-heart attack suggestions will cover cardiac rehab that puts a person into a gradually increasing exercise program that is monitored as the person walks the treadmill.

Studies show that people who participate in these types of programs live as much as two-thirds longer after a heart attack than those patients who do not participate in any program.

Good diet, proper medication and regular checkups at the doctor are also big keys.

You Can Get Life Insurance After Suffering a Heart Attack

heart rate - blood pressure_53351445-1600x1600Life insurance underwriters want to know if, and how much a person has recovered from a heart attack.

If a person has recovered to a normal lifestyle and is following doctor’s orders, a person can get a standard or a mild rating. It all depends on the amount of damage, if any, has occurred to the heart, and how the recovery is going.

If there is more damage to the heart than a normal underwriting process will allow, a person can always get guaranteed issue coverage.

This type of policy has no coverage for the first couple of years, and if the person dies, the policy will pay the amount of premiums paid plus 10 to 20 percent interest. After two years, the plan pays the full death benefit.

In Conclusion

An individual who applies for life insurance after having a heart attack should get all of his ducks in a row as far as information and medical details.

If the has had a mild heart attack and is recovering nicely, he may get a good rate.

Factors that underwriters consider when considering covering a post-heart attack applicant are very well known and identifiable.

The result depends on the severity of the heart attack and damage that was received by the heart during the heart attack. Recovery levels based on medical reports will play a big role in an underwriter’s decision.

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