Kidney Disease and Applying for Life Insurance
Will kidney disease make
The kidneys, or renal system, are responsible for removing
wastes from the body, regulating electrolyte balance and
blood pressure, and stimulating red blood cell production.
Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) is a term that encompasses any
disease or disorder that affects the function of the kidneys.
According to the National Kidney Foundation, 26 million Americans
have CKD; and 20 million more people have diabetes, hypertension and a family history of kidney disease. Groups at high
risk for CKD include African Americans, Hispanics, Pacific
Islanders, Native Americans and senior citizens.
Kidneys – The Body’s Fluid Management
Kidneys regulate the amount of water in
the body and keep other body fluids at a constant concentration
and acid base level. The kidneys filter the blood supply,
removing drugs and toxins, and excrete waste products and
excess water from the body as urine. They regulate blood
pressure, body water and other chemicals in the blood including
sodium, potassium, phosphorus and calcium. They also release
hormones into the blood stream and generate red blood cells.
Abnormalities in kidney function, renal
can lead to systemic problems in the body. Although
the kidneys are susceptible to a wide variety of disorders,
one normal kidney can successfully do the work of two. Kidney
disease is seldom life threatening unless both kidneys are
affected by kidney disease or trauma.
What Is Chronic Kidney Disease?
CKD is the name given to conditions that
damage the kidneys and affect their ability to maintain good
overall health. Acute renal failure often occurs due to severe injury, obstruction
to the flow of urine due to a kidney stone, bladder tumor
or enlarged prostate gland. Chronic renal failure may
develop silently, over a long period of time, before becoming
symptomatic. It can often lead to irreversible damage and
progress to an advanced disease state called end state
renal failure. In such cases, dialysis or kidney transplants are the only treatment options to enable a person to live
a near normal lifestyle. Early detection and treatment
of kidney disease can often prevent it from progressing.
Complications such as high blood
pressure, anemia (low blood
count), weak bones, poor nutritional health and nerve damage
can result from kidney disease which then puts a person at
increased risk for developing heart and blood vessel disease. Several
medical conditions that negatively affect the kidneys are:
- Diabetes: Elevated
blood sugar levels associated cause damage to organs in
the body including the kidneys, heart, blood vessels, nerves
and eyes. Diabetes, along with hypertension, is responsible
for two thirds of all CKD cases.
- Hypertension: Uncontrolled
or poorly controlled high blood pressure occurs when the
pressure of blood against the walls of the blood vessels
is a leading cause of heart attacks, strokes and chronic
kidney disease. Conversely, chronic kidney disease
can also cause high blood pressure.
- Glomerulonephritis: A group of
diseases that cause inflammation and damage to the kidney's
filtering units, negatively affecting their ability to
remove waste products, salts and water from the blood stream,
is the most common cause of chronic renal insufficiency/failure.
Mild forms of the disease are often asymptomatic and are
discovered when routine physical or insurance exam blood
work is examined and urinalysis is done. Abnormal
findings are called:
- Hematuria: Red blood
cells in urine
- Proteinuria/Albuminuria: Higher
than normal levels of protein or albumin in the
levels of albumin are the most common protein reported
in urinalysis. Proteinuria can be caused by acute
or chronic glomerulonephritis; nephrosis; arteriolar
nephrosclerosis; Kimmelstiel Wilson’s disease;
collagen disease; kidney stone, kidney tumor; kidney
infection; hydronephrosis; polycystic kidney disease
(PKD); heart disease; hypertension; congenital abnormalities;
drug use or abuse. Though not an absolute marker for
kidney disease, proteinuria can indicate the presence
of other problematic conditions, so findings of it normally
warrant further investigation.
Glomerulonephritis can develop over
time, causing symptoms such as puffiness of the soft tissues
around the eye ball, elevated blood pressure and/or a significant
decrease in urine production or it may reveal itself suddenly
with a severe attack that results in kidney failure within
is the third most common type of kidney disease.
kidney disease (PKD): An
inherited condition that causes numerous cysts to form
in the kidneys. Cysts may also occur in the liver, pancreas,
spleen, ovaries and testes. Symptoms include abdominal
swelling, pain, blood in the urine and frequent urinary
tract infections and usually occur in gene carriers by
age 35. It is a progressive condition that will destroy
kidney tissue and lead to end-stage renal disease. There
is no cure for PKD, but quality medical care and compliance,
including dialysis or kidney transplant, can extend life
conditions that occur as a baby develops in utero.
- Lupus and auto immune diseases: Conditions
that negatively affect the body's immune system.
- Kidney Stones: A
solid mass, made up of tiny crystals, develops when urine
contains too much of certain substances. They can be found
in the kidney, ureter and bladder. The composition
of the stones, also referred to as calculi, depends upon
several factors. Calcium stones, the most common and likely to reoccur, can combine
with other substances, such as oxalate (the most common
substance), phosphate, or carbonate to form stones. Oxalate
comes from certain foods and diseases of the small intestine
increase the risk of forming calcium oxalate stones. Cystine stones can form in people who have cystinuria, a genetic
disorder that runs in families and affects both men and
women. Struvite stones are mainly found in women who have
urinary tract infections. They can grow very large and
can block the kidney, ureter, or bladder. Uric
acid stones are more common in men than in women and can occur with
gout or chemotherapy. Other substances also can form stones.
Bladder stones, are almost exclusively seen in men, and
are often the result of a long-term urinary tract infection
or an obstruction to the flow of urine from the bladder.
- Urinary tract infections
The Affect of CKD on Life Insurance Applications
When an insurance company exam reveals
abnormal laboratory findings with regard to CKD, be prepared
to undergo an extensive battery of kidney function tests.
Insurers will initially ask for two additional urine samples,
to be given on two different days. If the findings,
for one or both of these tests, are abnormal, a 24-hour urine
test may be requested. In certain cases, a kidney or renal
biopsy may even become necessary. Different lab results will
elicit different responses from insurers due to the varied
nature of CKD:
- If proteinuria or hematuria is
evident, most companies will request two additional urine
samples, taken on different days, to be tested. If the
findings come back without additional evidence of abnormality,
the application will continue to be processed. If
one or both studies are abnormal, the degree of abnormality
will determine whether insurance will be offered or whether
the applicant will be requested to pursue the findings
with his or her personal physician. If serious kidney
disease is suspected, an applicant will need to undergo
additional testing with a specialist and present the findings
before the application process can continue.
- In instances of acute glomerulonephritis,
where the progression to renal failure may be rapid,
insurance offers will be postponed until the condition
can be stabilized.
- In instances of chronic glomerulonephritis,
insurers will evaluate the applicant’s condition
over a period of years by reviewing the history of kidney
function test results and related tests to determine if
the condition has been stabilized.
- The presence of kidney stones, unless they are large,
recurrent and require serious intervention, will not prove
problematic to insurers.
- The presence of multiple kidney stones on a recurrent
basis, or stones that require an invasive medical intervention
may result in insurance offered at a higher rate.
Can MEG Financial Help?
At MEG Financial, we have worked with many
individuals across the country that have had related
histories and have helped many obtain fairly priced life
insurance. A number of these clients previously attempted
to buy life insurance elsewhere but were either turned down
or asked to pay a significantly higher rate. Our experience
helping others with related problems is invaluable
to you in identifying the insurance company that will treat
you most fairly.
For more specific information or to obtain
a custom quote, call MEG Financial today at (877) 583-3955.
You may also submit this short form and an independent insurance
agent will personally contact you to go over any questions
or other concerns.
Links for Kidney Disease