Anyone living with an adverse health condition knows that it can be more difficult to qualify for a life insurance policy compared to someone in good health. Since any condition that affects life expectancy is typically considered as an increased risk to the insurance provider, applicants with various health issues are oftentimes either denied coverage or rated substandard and required to pay a higher premium to compensate the insurance company for the increased risk.
If you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, you may or may not know that your blood glucose levels will affect your premium payments for your life insurance policy. In fact, of all the criteria and factors that go into pricing life insurance policies for individuals with diabetes, your glucose level is considered to be the most important since it indicates how well you’re controlling your condition. If you’ve already applied for a life insurance policy and you were told that a medical exam is necessary, there are several ways to lower glucose levels quickly and naturally to increase your chance of receiving a lower premium rate.
What is the Importance of Lower Hemoglobin A1C Levels?
The amount of sugar, or glucose, in your body changes over the course of the day. These changes will depend on whether you have exercised as well as when, what, and how much you have eaten. Typically, a “normal” fasting blood sugar level falls between 70 and 99 mg/dL. However, ideally, a diabetic should have an average fasting blood sugar level of less than 130 or 140 mg/dL, but the very best readings for type 1 and type 2 diabetics falls in the range of 100 to 120 mg/dL.
The life insurance company with whom you apply will likely perform an A1C test to determine your average blood sugar levels over a period of time, usually the past three months. In most cases, the A1C test is beneficial because a blood glucose test may not be accurate, and the former can offer an average reading to gauge how well you’re managing your diabetes.
How to Lower Your A1C Levels Without Medication
If you already know that you’ll need to submit to a medical exam in order to obtain life insurance, you may be wondering how to lower A1C levels fast. Insulin is the medication that will lower your blood glucose the quickest, but you will need to know how often to give correction doses, when to inject, and how much insulin you should use.
However, if you’re wondering how to lower A1C levels naturally and without insulin, the most effective way is to engage in physical activity. Exercise increases your body’s sensitivity to insulin and causes your muscles to absorb more glucose so there’s less of it circulating throughout your body both during and after the exercise. The result? You’ll have lower blood glucose levels when you test. According to the American Heart Association, you should engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity each day for at least five days per week.
Examples of moderate physical activity include:
- Using an elliptical machine
- Bike riding
- Brisk walking
Keep in mind that although exercise is an effective method for anyone looking to lower their blood glucose levels, physical activity should be a part of your lifestyle and not just used as a tool for producing an acceptable A1C test result.
Dietary changes are also among the first actions diabetics take when faced with considering how to lower A1C levels naturally. Not only will a healthy, well-rounded diet make you feel good, but eating the right foods and avoiding the wrong ones will lower your blood glucose during the process. Your body breaks down carbohydrates into sugars which are then transported by insulin into cells, but when you have issues with insulin function or eat too many carbs, this process can’t work, and your blood glucose levels will increase.
In order to develop a diet and get the best possible results on your A1C test, it’s important to concentrate on low glycemic index (GI) foods that are less likely than others to increase blood glucose.
- Non-starchy vegetables
- Stone-ground wheat
- Steel cut oats
On the other hand, the highest GI foods include:
- Instant oatmeal
- White bread
- White rice
Other foods known to help your body regulate out-of-control sugar levels include blueberries, avocados, chia seeds, mangos, certain spices, vinegar, eggs, olive oil, cherries, and cinnamon. In fact, the journal Diabetes Care published a 2003 study indicating that cinnamon causes liver and muscle cells to respond more readily to insulin. As a result, the body can better balance its blood sugar, and less insulin is released into your body.
Also, remember that if you’re wondering how to lower A1C levels with diet, it’s important to limit processed foods and junk foods to achieve lower blood sugar. These items contain extra sugars that can throw off your hopes of receiving a life insurance policy at an affordable rate. Instead, focus on whole foods to see a positive difference in blood sugar.
Although engaging in regular physical exercise and watching your carbohydrate intake are two effect ways to naturally lower A1C levels, here are some other easy ways to keep your blood sugar in check in the months leading up to the big exam:
- Increase your fiber intake.
- Implement portion control.
- Drink water and stay hydrated.
- Control your stress levels.
- Get enough quality sleep.
- Eat foods rich in magnesium and chromium.
- Lose weight.
Lower A1C Levels and Life Insurance Rates
Once you follow these tips and you’re able to keep your A1C levels low before your life insurance medical exam, it’s also important to know how the underwriters will look at your condition. When determining premium rates for life insurance coverage for diabetics, the insurance company will review the results of your tests. If you obtained a reading on your A1C test that is lower than 7.0, you’ll likely be able to obtain the best rates on your policy. In these instances, you can typically expect a standard rating, and, in some cases, you may even receive a preferred rating if you’re in excellent health in all other areas.
You may also be able to obtain coverage if your A1C test result falls between 7.1 and 7.5. However, if your result is 8.0 or higher, you may only be able to obtain a severe substandard rate. This means that you’ll likely be paying two to three times more what someone with a standard rating would pay for the same coverage. Depending on how well you’re able to manage your blood glucose levels, it may make more sense to apply for a guaranteed issue life insurance policy where you are not required to submit to a medical exam. Still, in most cases, the lack of medical exam also comes with a higher premium price tag, so it’s important to do your research before applying for a specific type of life insurance policy.
Final Thoughts On Keep A1C Levels Low For Life Insurance
Whether you’re just starting to think about ways to lower your blood glucose or you’re searching for the most effective ways to keep your A1C levels low before your life insurance medical exam, engaging in regular exercise and making dietary changes can help you to keep your blood sugar in check. Being aware of your condition and taking the appropriate steps to lower your blood glucose will not only increase your chance of a satisfactory rating and low premium on your life insurance policy, but you will be able to reap the benefits of a healthier lifestyle for months and years to come.