Life insurance medical tests include checking the heart and circulatory system to ensure heart disease isn’t present. Other health risks insurance companies want to rule out is a heart murmur, which can result in enlargement of the heart, blood pressure that is too high or low and the possibility of kidney disease.
Medical examiners also test pulse rate, which could be another indicator of an underlying illness. On average, a normal pulse rate falls between 60 to 80 beats per minute, but if someone has a pulse rate between 90 and 100, this could spell trouble. If the person’s pulse is slow to return to normal after exercise (heart rate recovery), this could signal the possibility of cardiovascular disease.
Research from the American College of Physicians found that people, who had a pulse rate that was slow to return to normal after exercise (42 beats per minute in a two minute period), were 1.5 times more likely to die. Further studies found that individuals with an abnormal pulse rate increased their mortality risk by 50 percent when compared to those with a regular pulse rate.
Since the discovery of AIDS and HIV in the 1980s, blood tests that check for HIV antibodies have been used to routinely test insurance candidates. These tests also offer useful information about the applicant’s renal and liver functions and blood quality.
When it comes to the detection of kidney problems, infections, diabetes, drug history and tobacco use, insurance companies rely on a blood test or urinalysis. This test has become a standard feature of all life insurance medical examinations, and can also be used to detect evidence of past disease.
- Complete Blood Count (CBC): Anemia, clotting issues, blood cancer, HIV/AIDS
- Red blood cells: Anemia, dehydration, internal bleeding
- White blood cells: Infection, cancer, disorders of the immune system
- Platelets: Bleeding disorders
- Hemoglobin: Anemia, sickle cell, diabetes
- Hematocrit: Blood or bone marrow disorder, anemia
- Mean Corpuscular Volume or size of red blood cells: Anemia
- Glucose: Blood sugar, diabetes
- Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN)
- Creatine: Kidney function
- Alkaline Phosphatase: Bone, liver disease, pregnancy
- Bilirubin: Blood and liver disease
- SGOT (AST)
- SGPT (ALT)
- Gamma Glutamyltransferase (GGT): Liver disorders
- Total Protein
- Globulin: Blood abnormalities
To learn more, read the blood facts and statistics from the American Red Cross.
Source: National Heart Lung and Blood Institute