When it comes to taking a medical exam for your life insurance policy, it’s very similar to times when a police officer pulls you over on the side of the road. You know you haven’t done anything wrong; both your car and driver’s licence is up-to-date, and your car is roadworthy. Yet, you still have the tendency to panic.
Applying for life insurance can be pretty painless – including the medical exam – if you know what to expect.
And yes, needles will be involved for a blood test and you will have to pee in a cup for your urine test. But, if all goes well, you can be out of there in no time. Sometimes, however, there are certain daily practices that will set off alarm bells in your blood and urine tests. It’s important to know what medical exams look for, what can cause concern, and why you are being tested in the first place.
As a general rule, patients should avoid eating or drinking anything other than water during the 12 hours prior to any blood test.
What You Shouldn’t Do Before a Life Insurance Medical
1. Exercise On The Day Of Your Exam
Exercising on the day of your exam will mean your blood pressure will be high. It also causes elevated protein levels in your urine.
TIP: Rest on your medical exam day and put off any plan to exercise.
2. Eating Certain Foods And OTC Medication
Food should not be eaten in less than eight hours before the exam. That means no food or drink (other than water) for at least eight hours before your blood is drawn.
Anything you consume in that eight hour period, especially sugary snacks or alcohol, can affect the results. There are also certain types of food and over-the-counter (OTC) medication that may give tests a false positive. These include:
- Poppy seeds – false positive for opiates
- Teas that contain hemp oils or cocoa – false positive for opiates
- Quinine in tonic water – false positive for opiates
- Nasal sprays – false positive for amphetamines or morphine
- Cough syrup and cough suppressants – false positive for Heroin and ecstasy
- Sinus treatments – false positive for Amphetamines
- Vicks Inhaler – false positive for Ecstasy and Meth
If you are currently on any of these OTC medications, it is advised to stop at least a couple days before the medical exam.
Most modern day drug tests are sophisticated enough to distinguish between actual drug use and small amounts of chemicals that are present in certain foods. Large enough doses can, however, still trip a system and delay your test results and, therefore, your life insurance policy.
3. Drink Alcohol
The consumption of alcohol in the 24 hours leading up to a medical exam is strictly prohibited. This is for the Triglyceride test on the heart and arteries and the Gamma Glutamyl Transferase (GGT) test on the liver.
4. Stressful Situations
Anxiety and stress, caused by certain events, can cause your blood pressure to rise, which will give your test a skewed result. If you are nervous on the day of the exam, ask the examiner to test your blood pressure last.
5. Wearing Layers Of Clothing
This may sound strange, but wearing layers of, or heavy, clothing may cause your weigh-in test to be flawed. Dress lightly for the weigh-in and stand tall for the measuring.
Height and weight measurement ratios will be used for your Body Mass Index (BMI) test to assess whether you are overweight or underweight. This may affect your premiums due to related health risks.
What Do Life Insurance Medical Exams Test For?
|Heart and arteries||Cholestrol, LDL (Low-Density Lipoprotein), HDL (High-Density Lipoprotein). HDL/LDL Ratio, Cholesterol/HDL Ratio, Triglycerides, Diuretic in urine, Beta Adrenergic Blockers.|
|Kidneys and bladder||Leukocyte Esterase, Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN), Urine PH screen, Haemoglobin screen, Creatinine, Proteinuria, Urine Creatinine, Protein/Creatinine Ratio, Urine Microalbumin.|
|Liver||Alkaline Phosphatase, Aspartate Aminotransferase (AST), Alanine Aminotransferase (ALT), Gamma Glutamyl Transpeptidase (GGT), Total Bilirubin, Total Protein, Albumin, Globulin.|
|Pancreas||Urine Glucose, Fructosamine, Hemoglobin A1C.|
|Other||Serum HIV, Cotinine (the main byproduct of nicotine), drug tests.|
- Nicotine stays in your system for anything between two days and three months.
- LDL or Low-Density Lipoprotein is considered the ‘bad cholesterol’ as it sticks to arteries.
- HDL or High-Density Lipoprotein is considered the ‘good cholesterol’ as it keeps arteries lubricated.
- Life insurance companies decide how much total cholesterol is accepted.
- The LDL/HDL Ratio test is used to determine the risk of a possible heart disease. The lower the ratio, the lower the risk.