By Patty Tansang
A physical examination may be needed when you purchase a life insurance policy, especially for larger benefit amounts. Insurance underwriters use a multitude of factors to determine your risk of premature death, and hence, how much premium you will be charged. In addition to asking about your medical history (including smoking history), they may test your blood and urine for common health conditions that can put you at increased risk of mortality.
Cardiovascular Diseases and Diabetes
Insurance companies are interested in knowing whether you have high cholesterol and lipid profiles that can increase your risk of heart diseases and stroke. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), heart disease and stroke are among the top three causes of death in the United States.
High blood sugar level may indicate the presence of diabetes. Diabetes can lead to complications affecting multiple organs, such as the kidney, eye, nerve and vascular system. It can affect any age group, including children.
You will be tested for antibodies against HIV (human immunodeficiency virus). HIV infection is a serious condition that weakens your immune system and destroys your ability to fight other serious infections. Antibodies against hepatitis viruses that infect the liver may also be tested on your blood sample.
Liver and Kidney Disorders
Liver and kidney dysfunction can significantly reduce your lifespan. Elevated liver enzymes in the blood, such as SGOT and SGPT, indicate liver damage. Excessive alcohol use is one common cause of liver damage. Elevated blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and creatinine may be a sign of kidney insufficiency.
Prostate specific antigen (PSA) is a simple blood test used for prostate cancer screening in men. PSA levels above 4ng/ml is associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer.
Urinalysis and Urine Drug Screen
The urine sample may be analyzed for protein and sugar. Leakage of protein in the urine often indicates kidney dysfunction, and leakage of sugar may be a sign of diabetes. The urine is commonly screened for cocaine and other drugs of abuse. Certain medications, such as antidepressants, benzodiazepines and morphine, are also included in the test panel.