What is Sleep Apnea? (And Why It Hurts Rates!)
To begin, sleep apnea (sometimes also referred to as “sleep disordered breathing” or “sleep cessation breathing syndrome”) is a breathing disorder that is characterized by short pauses in breathing during sleep. Each pause in breathing is typically associated with a low level of oxygen in the body.
Obstructive sleep apnea (the most common type) occurs when a person’s throat muscles relax during sleep, resulting in the airway being partially blocked. This kind of sleep apnea is typically caused by excess weight (the excess weight can cause the throat to collapse) and is more commonly found in people with “central sleep apnea,” a headache disorder where the brain doesn’t signal the person to breathe.
The airway is blocked, which causes a temporary drop in blood oxygen levels, resulting in arousal. The person is briefly awake as the brain signals the muscles to breathe again. While still asleep, the person doesn’t realize they have stopped breathing. The brain cycles between arousal and sleep hundreds of times per night, which causes the sleep cycle to be interrupted. People who have sleep apnea suffer from excessive daytime sleepiness, are often restless sleepers, and can experience physical health issues because of poor sleep.
Why does sleep apnea increase rates?
Insurance companies are aware of the correlation between sleep apnea and increased risk for death. Sleep apnea increases the rate that the body’s tissues deteriorate, which is the main way that life insurance premiums are determined. For example, if a policyholder has heart disease and a family history of heart disease, the insurance company considers the lifetime risk for a major heart attack or stroke to be greater. And because there is a higher chance of death because of increased risk for future medical expenses, they charge a higher rate.
Because sleep apnea increases body tissue deterioration and already-existing medical conditions, it can increase a life insurance company’s perception of the risk for death. And it’s important to know that the perception of risk is what determines insurance premiums. Whether that risk is actually real is subjective.
An insurance company will usually review your medical records before agreeing to cover you. If it finds evidence in your records that you have a sleep disorder such as sleep apnea, it may increase your premium or refuse coverage altogether.
Types of Sleep Apnea
There are several types of sleep apnea. Most common and life threatening are the obstructive sleep apnea and the central sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is caused when the muscles surrounding the airways collapse to block airflow. The body requires oxygen 24/7 and when the airway is blocked, the oxygen needed to function properly can’t be delivered.
Central sleep apnea occurs when the part of the brain that is responsible for respiration falls asleep. If this occurs for too long the oxygen supply is cut off and the body starts to shut down.
If your sleep apnea keeps you from breathing you will be woken in order to clear your airways. This jerking motion can cause sleep disturbance and possibly heart-related injuries as a result of the oxygen deficiency in your blood.
The various types of sleep apnea can be diagnosed by a sleep study or a pulse oximeter. The various options for treating sleep apnea include losing weight, using a CPAP machine, or simply sleeping on your side.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is caused by the body struggling to breathe as it repeatedly pauses during the night. Recently, doctors have come to understand that a major cause of sleep apnea is an obstruction of the upper airway, usually a compressed tongue.1
There are several types of obstructions that can lead to sleep apnea, and each calls for a different approach in managing the problem and in obtaining life insurance. When an applicant or insured is diagnosed with sleep apnea, it will affect the type of life insurance policy he qualifies for, as well as the cost of that policy.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Life Insurance
Obstructive sleep apnea is diagnosed based on a determination that the applicant or insured has stopped breathing for more than 10 seconds during sleep. If the sleep apnea is severe enough to require treatment with a CPAP machine, the applicant is likely to get a fair rate of disability from life insurers. This is due to the fact that power-ventilation treatment with a CPAP machine is very effective at eliminating life-threatening episodes of sleep apnea.
Central Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a term that is used to describe a sleep disorder in which a person’s breathing is interrupted while they are asleep. This can be caused by a physical obstruction in the airway, a phenomenon known as central sleep apnea, or by a more complex disturbance of the brain’s abnormally low levels of activity during sleep, known as obstructive sleep apnea.
If you have a sleep disorder, your risk of suffering from a stroke goes up by more than a third. Sleep apnea in adults has been associated with overweight, and as a result, doctors are looking for weight-loss strategies that can help lower your risk. Losing weight can help reduce the severity of sleep apnea, which in turn can make managing your weight easier.
U.S. researchers involved hundreds of participants from a previous weight-loss study and asked the participants to keep their food journals for a period of 12 weeks. The volunteers who lost the highest amount of weight were subsequently subjected to sleep testing. This was done to gauge their levels of sleep apnea severity.
The sleep tests showed that the participants who had the biggest weight loss also had the biggest reduction in the severity of their sleep apnea. Therefore, by losing weight, the participants also reduced their risk of having a stroke.
Treatment for Sleep Apnea
When you have sleep apnea, you wake up in the middle of the night gasping for air. This may happen as often as 10-20 times a night and can cause you to wake up feeling more tired than when you went to bed.
Sleep apnea makes a person stop breathing during sleep and causes loud snoring. It can be quite painful, for only one can sleep with a closed nose. It is a sleeping problem that is caused by failure of the airways to remain open while sleeping. Severe or mild sleep apnea can lead to numerous health problems. It can worsen other health problems such as hypertension, diabetes, heart problems, depression, and impotence in men.
The most common description of people who have sleep apnea is that they snore loudly and their breathing is shallow. Even if their nose is open, they have loud snoring. It is due to the sleeping problem that is caused by the restricted flow of air. People have reported that they are awakened due to their loud snoring. They say that they have breathed while sleeping, but at other times, they have not.
There is no known single cause why people have sleep apnea. There are other conditions that are known to be the possible cause of sleep apnea. Examples are tumors, high blood pressure, strokes, heart failure, or nasal and sinus problems. Underweight people also have sleep apnea.
In 1990, the National Institutes of Health estimated that approximately 3% of U.S. adults ages 30 to 60 experienced sleep apnea. Before 1990, the instances showed that from 5% to 7% were those people who reported sleep apnea.
Learn Proper Sleeping Positions
Sleep apnea is a chronic sleep disorder where there are disturbances in breathing while you sleep. It is a common condition, and often undiagnosed. When you sleep, your blood pressure drops along with your breathing rate. These two factors allow the walls of your throat to relax, often causing breathing to partially or sometimes completely stop for a short while. Breathing resumes when your brain signals your body to start breathing again. It is because of this additional work your brain has to do that most people with sleep apnea suffer from tiredness and sleepiness during the day.
Since apnea can occur at night, many people with sleep apnea don’t realize how often they have stopped breathing. However, this is something you can look out for. If you are in a situation when your breathing does just skip a few beats, chances are that you dreamed. Many people realize that they don’t remember the last few seconds of their dreams. This is why they are able to remember waking up in the morning.
Duration and frequency of sleeping without a break also increases the risk of sleep apnea. So does having a lot of issues to sleep, such as stress, worries, and old and worn out bedding.
Sleep Apnea? Good Grief. Still Need Life Insurance?
I get a lot of emails from people in their 40s, 50s, and 60s with sleep apnea who have questions about getting a policy. The problem is that their doctors say they are too high a risk because they are smokers or some other health condition won’t qualify them or make them extremely high risk.
If you’ve been told that you’re too high risk, I’ve been there and can tell you from experience that it’s not true. When I asked my broker to help me get life insurance, she said I was too high risk. So I started looking for an alternative. What I found was better than what I had. With the new company, I got a policy that my family is comfortable with.
Call me today to talk about your situation.
Avoid Excess Consumption of Alcohol
Drowsy driving accounts for 250,000 car accidents each year. This is according to a study commissioned by The TorqSleep, a new, lesser-known anti-snoring mouthpiece.
Due to the severity of these accident statistics, the Obama Administration has stepped in and proposed a new rule that will require all new cars to have driver alertness monitoring in place.
According to a new survey by Medicare, more than half of insured Americans are unaware they can be denied coverage for sleep apnea, a disorder resulting in excessive snoring and difficulty breathing while asleep.
So if you do not already have sleep apnea coverage on all of your insurance policies, the insured are now able to receive a sleep apnea test from their doctor. If you test positive for the disorder, you can then go to your insurance provider to discuss coverage for treatment.
AARP, the largest seniors advocacy group in America, has released a new waiver making it easier to see an insurance doctor for a sleep test. This new process enables you to have sleep apnea coverage even if you are already 66 years old and are on Medicare.
Is Recommended for Sleep Apnea, but….
CPAP is widely recognized as one of the main treatments for patients diagnosed with sleep apnea. CPAP works by supplying a stream of fresh, cool pressurized air to the patient, thus preventing the airway from closing during sleep. In addition, CPAP also helps treat nasal obstructions caused by sleep apnea. With CPAP, you will see the greatest improvement in the quality of your sleep and your ability to breathe while you sleep. CPAP has also been shown to significantly reduce your risk of hypertension, heart attack, stroke and diabetes.
CPAP does have its drawbacks. It’s complicated “ a little scary “ to use at first. Many people take some time to adjust. Getting used to the device and learning how to use it takes patience and determination, since it needs to be used at least four hours a night. Some people don’t like wearing a wet mask, or the mouthpiece, or the noise. Like everything in life, there are trade-offs, and CPAP is no exception.
The good news is there are things you can do to make CPAP more tolerable. Here are some ways to make CPAP a little easier, and a little nicer.
Getting Approved for Term Life with Sleep Apnea
Getting approved for life insurances for people with sleep apnea is difficult.
Insurance companies are concerned that the applicant would not live to claim. This is because people with sleep apnea show a high risk of death when put up against others who do not have sleep apnea.
However, there are several ways to challenge this misconception and find the life policies you need at a fair and affordable price. The biggest problem is that there is no simple “bullet proof” solution to finding a life insurance for sleep apnea sufferers.
If you are in a desperate search for a life insurance for sleep apnea sufferers, there are natural ways of getting insurance companies interested. If this is your goal, a sleep study can actually help you out. You can use it as an advantage, particularly during the underwriting process. Here are some tips:
Quickly get a sleep study done if you aren’t eligible for term life insurance.
How do you make sure you get the most affordable rate if you have sleep apnea?
If you have sleep apnea, it’s important to be treated for your condition to avoid serious medical complications. Insurers consider sleep apnea to be a health problem, however, so chances are you’re going to have a harder time getting a life insurance quote than someone with good health.
If you’re an otherwise healthy individual, you can still get a life insurance rate that’s fair and affordable. An independent agent of the Simplii Financial’s partner network might be able to help you get a custom quote and a low rate. An independent agent can work with you to get an individualized quote based on your own health and circumstances.
However, if you try to get a quote directly through a life insurance company’s website, you’re more likely to get a higher rate. That’s because some life insurance companies penalize people with sleep apnea.
So if you have a harder time getting affordable life insurance rates because of sleep apnea, work with an independent agent who can get you the most affordable rate possible.
The Degree of Sleep Apnea is the Main Factor
Insurance companies understand that people with sleep apnea – which is still widely undiagnosed – are at a higher risk of death. And that’s why sleep apnea life insurance quote is often denied by the insurance companies or only issued at a higher cost.
It sounds crazy, but sleep apnea life insurance can be more costly than “regular” life insurance. To get a sleep apnea life insurance quote with the best price, you need to find out if you have mild sleep apnea or severe sleep apnea.
Here’s how: There are over 200 different ways to get sleep apnea diagnosed, but only about a dozen of those tests are covered by most health insurance companies. The tests that are covered are:
Apnea Epidemic in US.
One of these tests is considered a “free screening” offered by most medical practitioners. That means it’s free, and you can get it anytime you’re feeling tired. The test is objective, meaning that it gives you a binary positive or negative result. This test is a single question survey, and it’s called the Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS).
Sleep Apnea Questionnaire
If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, you are probably in the process of applying for life insurance. But with the plethora of options and the complex language employed by insurance companies and agents, the process of applying for life insurance is challenging for the average person.
The good news is that you can apply for a simpler and less expensive life insurance policy.
It is vital that you first understand how your sleep apnea affects your health. A sleep study helps determine the severity of your sleep apnea. Once the severity of your condition is diagnosed, you need to get hold of your medical records and check if you have applied or are covered for life insurance.
The next step is to answer a questionnaire that will tell you if you are eligible for a certain type of life insurance policy.
The beauty of qualifying for a simpler life insurance policy is that the rates are lower. It just means that they are only able to offer certain benefits and features that are more basic. The main features of these simpler insurance policies include:
Lifetime coverage guaranteed by the company.
No medical exam necessary.
Quick approval process.
No pre-existing condition exclusion.
Permanent life insurance (can be converted into term life insurance at any given time).
Life Insurance Rates with Sleep Apnea
If you have sleep apnea, you probably already know about the complications that can come with it: poor health, lack of energy, trouble with concentration and memory…
And you likely already knew how sleep apnea can result in damage to your heart and blood vessels, the need for a pacemaker,.
In fact, if you are one of the four out of five people who experience "obstructive sleep apnea syndrome," you probably already know that sleep apnea can have health consequences beyond your snoring nights…
Because of all of that, if you already have health insurance, you may have high hopes of coverage of this condition. However, you may be disappointed after you read your insurance policy.
Many people who suffer from sleep apnea are shocked to learn that their standard personal health insurance policy does not cover the condition. It isn't that they don't cover conditions that interfere with sleep. It's that sleep apnea is not considered a "disease" even if it results in significant health problems. As a result, under many personal health insurance policies, sleep apnea is excluded from coverage.
Can You Get Preferred Plus Rates with Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep. It is usually caused by the collapse of soft tissue in the back of the throat, but it can also be caused by the brain malfunctioning and failing to signal the muscles to breathe. People with sleep apnea have such frequent pauses in their breathing that they don’t get the expected amount of oxygen.
Sleep apnea can be caused by factors such as excess weight, chewing tobacco, obesity, and pregnancy. It is dangerous because it prevents deep sleep, so sufferers feel tired during the day, have trouble focusing, can’t work to capacity, and are at an increased risk of having a heart attack or a stroke.
There are several different types of sleep apnea. The most common category is obstructive sleep apnea, in which the airway is blocked, causing the apnea. Central sleep apnea is different because there is no blockage; instead, the brain just doesn’t release the signals that should make the sleeper breathe. The most severe form, mixed sleep apnea, is a combination of the two. Although it is the most common form, it is also believed to be the most dangerous because it can trigger both heart failure and stroke.