New guidelines have been set by the American Heart Association (AHA), which means that 46 percent of the current adult population in the United States are considered hypertensive. Under the guidelines issued, you are considered to have ‘abnormally’ high blood pressure (Hypertension) if your average blood pressure is higher than 130/80. The old threshold was 140/90, meaning 14 percent more people will be diagnosed with hypertension. How does this new guideline affect you and your money, you ask? We’re here to tell you.
High Blood Pressure & Your Money / Insurance
Surprisingly enough, your finance and insurance policy could be impacted by the new guidelines that have been set by the AHA. Life insurers use health information to determine the risk of covering each individual customer – and how much to charge them. One of the factors they look at is blood pressure.
Although guidelines for blood pressure do vary by life insurance company, they tend to be very similar. They do however allow higher blood pressure readings for older people – about 60 and older.
Companies don’t change their guidelines very often but it is not clear if insurers will adjust their guidelines for blood pressure based on the new guidelines issued by the AHA. If they do, the rate classes and prices will be affected. For example, if someone with an average blood pressure of 143/81 qualifies for the best-class life insurance with the lowest premiums, under the new guidelines of 130/80, that person may no longer qualify for that same best-class rate.
Many insurance companies require an in-home medical examine in which they will monitor blood pressure, taking readings three separate times. The readings taken are averaged and then assessed to determine which class and price you fall under for an insurance policy. To better prepare for this type of examine, 24 hours prior do not engage in strenuous activity, refrain from alcohol consumption and limit caffeine intake. Relaxing during the exam is very important in order to keep your blood pressure from rising. Your doctor and the insurance company will work with you if you readings are higher than normal so don’t stress.
What to Do About It?
With new guidelines making average blood pressure highs stricter, many people wonder if they will have to take medication. Experts believe that a small percentage of people will need treatment based on the new rules.
The use of blood pressure medication is accepted in many insurers policies, so no need to worry too much. Qualifications for the lowest rates available may still be an option, as long as your blood pressure is well-controlled.
Natural Ways of Lowering Blood Pressure
Some may not have to take medication or prefer not to, and there are many options for those people. Consider these lifestyle changes to help lower high blood pressure:
Improve Your Diet. Sodium intake should be lowered and potassium intake to be higher. Potassium-rich foods include bananas, salmon, and avocados.
Exercise Regularly. Staying active and focused on exercise will improve your heart health and will lower your risk for hypertension.
Losing Weight. A small reduction of body weight, even 5 percent, may decrease blood pressure, on average, by 5 to 11 points when combined with a healthy diet and regular exercise.
Limited Alcohol Consumption. Drinking more than two drinks per day, for men, and one drink a day, for women, will increase blood pressure. Keeping it below those recommendations will lessen your risk.