Disclaimer: This article does not constitute medical advice. It’s for informational purposes only. Always discuss anything health-related with qualified medical personnel especially if you are diabetic.

People with diabetes, especially those with Type 1, are considered high-risk insurance applicants, and it is not rare for them to be declined life insurance due to poor medical examination results. Fortunately, there are things you can do to increase your chances of passing the test, but you need to start your preparation as early as possible.

Take Your Medicine as Prescribed

Medical non-compliance—the term for patients not taking their prescribed medicine at the appropriate time or dosage comes at an annual cost of 125 000 deaths and $100-$289 bln.

The practice is particularly high among Type 2 diabetics where a study found insulin non-adherence to be 62%-64%. Furthermore, diabetes often comes with comorbid illnesses which means even more medicine to take, making adherence harder to achieve. In any case, not taking your prescribed medication will show up during your life insurance medical test which involves blood and urine samples and possibly an EKG (exact procedures vary with insurance companies).

Take an honest assessment of your adherence habits and if you find that you fail to take your drugs as prescribed look at the root cause. Talk to your physician if you are confused about how to take them. If the problem is that you are forgetful, there are plenty of solutions—from smartphone apps to automatic pill dispensers.

Take Care of Accompanying Illnesses

You might be applying for life insurance for people with diabetes, but this doesn’t mean that the insurance company will only be looking at your overall condition. The purpose of the medical test is to determine your holistic health, and, to put it bluntly, life expectancy. Even if you have your diabetes treatment in order, failing to address accompanying illnesses can have a detrimental effect on your insurance approval or premiums.

Some medications for chronic illnesses take time to accumulate in the body and take effect. This is why it’s so important if you’ve neglected your treatment to resume it early enough for it to start working before the exam. A check-up by a physician to rule out any complications or newly-developed illnesses is also a smart move to make before you have your life insurance medical test.

Fix Your Diet

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) in 2013–2014 more than 2 in 3 adults were considered to be overweight or have obesity, and 1 in 13 suffered from extreme obesity. Unfortunately, the trend is on the rise in the US parallel to the increasing rates of diabetes which might cause or be the result of poor dietary habits.

Poor nutrition will show on your medical exam. Managing your diet when you have diabetes might seem like a tedious task, but it’s actually not. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) has a great resource page on food management for diabetics. By the way, “fixing your diet” also means addressing smoking and alcohol consumption.

Get Fit

Another pandemic that is literally killing us is sedentary lifestyle. Just like poor eating habits, staying inactive comes with dire consequence including a higher chance of developing diabetes or complicating an already existing condition.

Sticking to a regular exercise routine is vital for living a longer and happier life but also important if you want to up your chances of getting approved for life insurance for diabetics. Of course, having the condition means that you need to take some precautions before getting on with a workout regiment especially if you have Type 1 diabetes. The ADA has this covered too, with materials on how to stay safe when exercising and how exercise affects blood glucose.

Keep Calm

Chronic stress completes the trifecta of the 21st century’s leading causes for chronic illnesses and premature death, making company of poor diet and sedentary lifestyle. It’s important to remember that stress comes with real, physical effects and it’s not just something happening in your mind. These symptoms can worsen your pre-existing conditions, lead to new ones and have an effect on your test results.

If you are stressing about your upcoming life insurance medical exam, you should know that even if you do get rejected, it doesn’t mean you won’t get life insurance for diabetics. The folks over at americanterm.com—a consultancy agency specializing in high-risk life insurance, have a case study of a client who was declined insurance at one company due to poor EKG, but in the end, with the help of the agency, got approved at another company.

You can’t always control stress-inducing situations, but you can control how you react to them and how much you give in to stress. The practice of mindfulness is becoming increasingly popular, and studies have shown that it has tangible effects in calming the mind. There are plenty of materials and apps online to get you started.

Thinking about your upcoming life insurance medical exam might feel like when you were anxious for a school test only with much higher stakes. It’s only normal to worry about something so important, but as noted above you are in power of working with stress or letting it overwhelm you. There’s plenty you can do to increase your chances of getting approved with an affordable premium rate. If you find it hard to stick with new routines, you can always turn to family and friends or a professional for support and guidance.

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