Life insurance costs can skyrocket if you have high cholesterol or triglycerides. The life insurance cost related to high cholesterol is significant. If you have high cholesterol or triglycerides, you can still qualify for life insurance in most cases, but if you take steps to live a healthier lifestyle, you may be able to quickly cut those cholesterol levels down to both live longer and save big on insurance.
What are Cholesterol and Triglycerides?
Cholesterol is a waxy substance that your body uses in the creation of cell membranes, but too much can cause blockages in your arteries, according to the National Institute of Health.
Cholesterol comes from two sources: your diet and your body. Eating foods high in saturated fat and cholesterol contributes to higher cholesterol levels in the blood. In addition, your liver creates cholesterol every day. High cholesterol or low cholesterol is also hereditary. If a parent or grandparent has high cholesterol, it is important to get tested.
Triglycerides are a type of fat that, like cholesterol, does not dissolve in your blood, according to the Mayo Clinic. Like cholesterol, it can cause build ups and blockages in your arteries. Depending on where those occur, it can lead to heart attack or stroke.
Improve Your Diet
The quickest way to lower your cholesterol in most cases is to stop eating it. Improving your diet has the possibility of dramatically lowering your cholesterol and triglycerides, particularly if you eat lots of red meat, cheese, ice cream, and other foods high in cholesterol and saturated fat. A lower cholesterol diet leads to lower cholesterol levels in your blood.
You can also eat foods containing high levels of “good cholesterol,” also known as HDL cholesterol. Foods that help lower cholesterol include anything high in Omega 3 fatty acids like fish (not shellfish), which can also promote better HDL levels. A diet high in fruits and vegetables is great for your overall health, and can help improve cholesterol and triglyceride levels, according to the FDA.
WebMD suggests that the worst foods for dietary cholesterol include organ meats, eggs, and shellfish. Foods high in starch and sugar contribute to higher triglyceride levels, so skip the breads and desserts.
Dr. Oz, a TV celebrity doctor, put together a triglyceride lowering shopping list. He suggests salmon, beans, fresh fruit, grapes, olive oil, and spinach. Most of the foods that help your triglyceride levels also help lower your cholesterol.
One of the worst foods for triglycerides is fructose, a sugar commonly found in processed foods and candies. Cooking for yourself from scratch rather than buying processed foods can make a big difference. Eating at home is also a great way to control your diet, as restaurants often use lots of sugar, high fat ingredients, and lots of salt, which can cause high blood pressure.
Increase Your Exercise
Exercise helps lower your cholesterol and triglycerides for multiple reasons. First, obesity contributes to higher cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Exercise helps you lose weight, and can go on to help lower your cholesterol and triglyceride levels. This is one of the best ways to naturally lower high cholesterol.
Exercise also helps move your blood through your arteries faster, which may break down and prevent blockages. Further, exercise increases the size of proteins in your blood, which can prevent the smaller fats from clogging up the crevices that line your artery walls.
Exercise makes you healthier all around, and the CDC suggests getting at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate exercise such as brisk walking or 1 hour and 15 minutes of more vigorous exercise such as jogging or running each week.
Add Medication if Needed
If diet and exercise do not make enough of a difference on their own, you can look into medications to lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels. To lower cholesterol, the most widely used family of medications are called statins.
Statins can have serious side effects, so it is important to give diet and exercise a serious best effort before looking to medication as an easy way out. The most common side effects include muscle pain and weakness, unhealthy increases in liver enzymes, worsening asthma symptoms, and there can be dangerous reactions to other common medications.
That said, if you have dangerous high cholesterol levels that cannot be controlled through diet and exercise, the benefits typically outweigh the risks and side effects. Remember that lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels can lower your risk for heart attack and stroke dramatically (not to mention lowering your life insurance rates).
Longer and healthier life is well worth the risks and side effects in many cases.
You can get a prescription for a statin medication from your doctor. If you are on a statin, you should have regular appointments with your doctor to monitor your cholesterol, triglycerides, and other blood levels to ensure you are on the best course of treatment.
Lock Your Life Insurance Rates Today
If you are young and healthy, you will get the best life insurance rates available. Higher cholesterol and triglyceride levels can increase your rates, but if you have healthy levels today, you can get a quote and lock in your rates for the entire life of the policy.
Age is a major factor in determining rates, so even if your levels are slightly elevated, it is still worth taking the time to get a quote today. Life insurance is more affordable than many people realize, and taking the steps to protect your family is not a decision to delay.
If you find your rates are unaffordable with your current cholesterol or triglyceride levels, you can get to work today to get healthy. With the right combination of diet and exercise, or in some cases medication, you can see your cholesterol and triglyceride levels fall in a matter of months. At that time, you can re-apply for life insurance and may qualify for a better rate.
There is no way to know what your rate will be unless you take the first step. What are you waiting for? Get a life insurance quote today.