If you suffer from sleep apnea, youâ€™re far from alone in middle of the night. An estimated 18 million Americans are diagnosed with this common medical condition. Sleep apnea is when normal breathing is interrupted during sleep. Â
The vast number of people affected by sleep apnea means that many apply for life insurance and get coverage. Some people even are accepted at preferred rates. Life insurance companies do view sleep apnea as a health risk, however. Your life insurance rate might be affected if your condition is left untreated.
Your key to getting the best rate possible is to take steps recommended by your doctor and to work with an insurance company thatâ€™s experienced with finding affordable insurance for people with sleep apnea.
Sleep Apnea Basics
The Greek term apnea means without breath. Sleep apnea is an involuntary stoppage of breathing while asleep, often for a minute or longer, and many times per night. Often the sleep apnea sufferer is not aware of the episodes In fact, many people have sleep apnea and donâ€™t even know it, as the episodes donâ€™t trigger a full awakening. The body usually senses the temporary loss of breath and breathing starts again spontaneously.
Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common form, caused by a blockage in the airway, usually when soft tissue in the rear of the throat collapses and closes during sleep. Oxygen levels in the blood drop during sleep apnea episodes. Left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to serious medical conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, depression and accidents caused by falling asleep while driving.
Risk Factors and Symptoms
High-risk factors include being male, overweight and over the age of 40. A major symptom is extremely loud snoring, sometimes so intense that it drives any bed partner to another room. Other common indications of sleep apnea include persistent daytime sleepiness; bouts of waking up out of breath during the night; and frequent waking in the morning with a headache and dry mouth.
These are general symptoms, only; none is always present and none is an absolute indicator of sleep apnea. Only a sleep study in a laboratory or a home sleep study can diagnose sleep apnea. Although most often associated with mature men, sleep apnea also affects women and can strike at any age, including children.
If you think you might suffer from sleep apnea, you can take this short quiz to determine if youâ€™re at risk of developing, or likely already have sleep apnea. No personal identification information is required and results are instant.
Itâ€™s important to work closely with a doctor to find the best way to control sleep apnea. Medical devices and procedures can work to keep the airway open during sleep. Sleep studies, appliances and surgery can be covered by medical insurance. Here are a few options:
- CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine: Sends a constant flow of pressure to the throat to ensure that the airway stays open during sleep.
- Dental appliances worn at night to move the lower jaw and tongue and keep the airway open.
- Therapy to determine the best sleep position for unobstructed breathing.
- Surgery on upper airway, nasal passages or jaw.
- An implant system that senses breathing patterns and delivers mild stimulation during sleep to maintain proper breathing.
Applying for Life Insurance
If you have sleep apnea, a medical questionnaire required for life insurance approval will most likely cover the following:
- Date of first medical consultation for sleep apnea.
- Contact information for medical professionals seen for sleep apnea.
- Have you completed an in-home or clinic-based sleep study?
- Was sleep apnea diagnosed as mild, moderate or severe?
- Has a medical or dental device been prescribed to control sleep apnea, and if so, how often do you use it?
- Have you had surgery for sleep apnea and if so, what were the results?
- Have you been diagnosed with any of the following: high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease or depression?
- Do you have any other chronic medical condition?
Your best chance of getting an affordable life insurance policy is to work with a licensed insurance agent who can shop various companies to find you the best policy at the best price. SelectQuote agents work with more than 70 insurance companies and know which ones are likely to insure people with sleep apnea at affordable rates. Discuss your needs and concerns with aÂ licensed SelectQuote life insurance agent today.Â
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