Jimmy McMillan is the founder of Heart Life Insurance, an independent life insurance brokerage that specializes in life insurance for people with heart problems. He is a family man and fisherman who lives in Florida with the catch of his life, Emily.

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Written by Jimmy McMillan
Life Insurance Expert Jimmy McMillan

Benjamin Carr was a licensed insurance agent in Georgia and has two years' experience in life, health, property and casualty coverage. He has worked with State Farm and other risk management firms. He is also a strategic writer and editor with a background in branding, marketing, and quality assurance. He has been in military newsrooms — literally on the frontline of journalism.

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Reviewed by Benji Carr
Former Licensed Life Insurance Agent Benji Carr

UPDATED: Jun 28, 2022

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The best deals on insurance typically come with a life insurance medical exam or paramedical exam.

This is especially true if you have a pre-existing health condition or prior serious health issues like a heart attack.

Your medical exam determines your rating health class, and life insurance rates can be 50% – 100% higher depending on your exam results.

Discover and use these practical tricks so that you can get the best possible results on your exam.

21 Life Insurance Medical Exam Tips

#1 – Butt Out – Quit Smoking

There are tons of resources available to help you quit smoking. It is the most drastic change you can make on this list. However, it is also the most important for your life insurance rates.

The CDC has a list of tools you can use to stop smoking here.

The longer you go without smoking, the better your chances of an improved medical exam and lower life insurance rates.

#2 – Pay Attention to Your Life Insurance Medical Exam Prep

Give yourself time to make changes to your lifestyle before the exam that can help you get better results.

The longer you can manage your eating and exercise habits, the more they appear in the exam’s results.

Have your medical information ready, including a list of medical conditions, treatments, prescription medications, and contact information for your physician(s).

#3 – Focus on Your Blood Pressure

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a huge indicator of problems in your body.

In fact, many of these tips will directly lower your blood pressure, and for good reason.

The difference between the best life insurance rates and a lower health class can be just a few points of systolic blood pressure.

So small changes here can equal big savings in life insurance.

#4 – Avoid the Fast Food Lane Before Your Exam

Your kidneys are pretty good at regulating excess salt in your system.

Unfortunately, we ingest so much of it that salt can still create adverse reactions in our bodies, most notably higher blood pressure.

Avoid high sodium and processed foods for at least three days before the test so that your blood pressure is normalized.

#5 – Life Insurance Blood Test Tips for Sugar

Sugar may represent an even worse substance for your body than salt, and blood sugar is just one factor that life insurance companies are looking for in a blood test.

Excess sugar will negatively affect your heart, kidneys, liver, pancreas, skin, joints, and teeth.

To avoid increased blood sugar levels, try to limit your sugar intake about a week before the exam.

#6 – Count Your Sheep and Get Plenty of Rest the Night Before

Did you know? Harvard Researchers found that a single night of inadequate sleep in people with high blood pressure can cause elevated blood pressure throughout the following day?

Get plenty of sleep for a few nights before your medical exam so that your body is well-rested and at its peak condition.

#7 – Life Insurance Blood Test and Alcohol

A night of excessive alcohol before your medical exam could increase your blood pressure and alter your liver enzyme readings.

Both of these numbers are crucial to a life insurance underwriter.

#8 – Reduce Caffeine Consumption the Day Before Your Exam

We all love our coffee.  However, too much caffeine can raise your heart rate and blood pressure, especially if you are caffeine sensitive.

Avoid coffee the day of the exam and preferably for 24 hours beforehand.

#9 – Avoid Recreational Drugs or Illegal Substances

Stay away from illegal drugs or controlled substances before a medical exam.

Marijuana, methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, or other non-prescription drugs could cause your insurer to deny you coverage.

Depending on the drug, they could stay in your system for a couple of weeks and should be avoided altogether.

#10 – Hold off on CrossFit 24 Hours Before Your Paramedical Exam

You don’t want to push yourself too much before the medical exam. Excessive exercise increases your heart rate and can also negatively affect liver enzyme readings.

Avoid strenuous exercise at least one day before your exam.

#11 – Eat More Fiber to Lower Cholesterol Readings

Did you know? Adding five grams of fiber to your diet daily could lower your LDL (“bad”) Cholesterol by 10 points or more?

Your liver will use up more cholesterol in your blood if you have a high-fiber diet. So increase the fiber in your diet gradually at least a week before your para-medical exam.

#12 – Drink Plenty of Water 48 Hours Before Your Exam

Most of us don’t drink enough water.

Adding more water to your diet helps remove excess salt, sugar, and other minerals from your body so that they do not cause poor results on your medical exam.

Did you know? The National Academy of Medicine recommends 95 ounces of water per day for women and 125 ounces per day for men.

#13 – Fast 24 Hours Before Your Exam

Talk to your medical examiner or another medical professional. However, you must fast at least overnight for your blood test.

There is a lot of evidence that even more time between meals could be beneficial to your health.

You can get the most accurate results by fasting for about 24 hours before the exam. That way, you don’t throw numbers off by having a blood sugar spike or increased blood pressure due to an unhealthy meal.

During this time, try drinking water to control hunger cravings.

#14 – Avoid Shellfish 48 Hours Ahead of Your Exam

Some researchers warn that consuming shellfish before a blood test can raise your “bad” cholesterol rates even though it may raise your “good” cholesterol rates even more.

Currently, this research is inconclusive, However, avoid shellfish altogether two days ahead of your medical exam just to be safe.

#15 – Could poppy seeds spell a decline?

Depending on how they are processed, poppy seeds can still contain trace amounts of morphine and codeine that come from the poppy plant.

These amounts are detectable up to 20 hours post-ingestion, so avoid muffins, bagels, or salad dressings that contain poppy seeds the day before your exam.

This seems much ado about nothing, however, it’s not worth the risk.

#16 – Lose a Little Weight, Save a Lot of Dough

We are not suggesting that you go on a crash diet before your medical exam.  That never works.

Having said that, losing five pounds can mean the difference between the best life insurance health class and a lower health class / higher rate.

#17 – Have Your Exam Early in the Morning

To ensure that your body is in top condition after sleeping and to make it easier with your fast, schedule the exam for first thing in the morning.

#18 – For Women: Time Your Exam with Your Menstrual Cycle

A woman’s cholesterol level naturally rises during the first half of the menstrual cycle, peaks at ovulation, then declines after.

Taking a medical exam at the beginning of a menstrual cycle can result in lower cholesterol levels.

#19 – Relax Using Controlled Breathing Techniques

It’s normal for people to be nervous during a medical exam, and controlled breathing can help you relax.

Controlled breathing can also lower blood pressure, promote feelings of calm and help us unwind.

Concentrate on your breaths so that your mind isn’t racing, and let your body relax one breath at a time.

#20 – Wednesday, Friday, or Saturday Would be the Best Day for Your Exam

Monday is classically called “the most stressful day of the week,” but a British survey found the peak day for stress was Tuesday.

For the millennial generation, surveys showed that workplace stress was at its highest on Thursdays.

You may be able to lower your stress, blood pressure, and heart rate by taking your medical exam on a Wednesday, Friday, or Saturday.

#21 – Change Your Morning Routine and Shower Cold!

Cold water exposure has been shown to lower stress levels and uric acid levels, both of which can help you on your medical exam.

The entire shower does not have to be cold. Most of the showers can be warm. Gradually increase the cold water until the last three minutes of the shower are as cold as possible to receive these and other health benefits.

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In Conclusion: Life Insurance Health Exam Tips

Setting up an appointment for a physical exam just so you can get life insurance sounds like a terrible idea. Don’t let the process discourage you. A medical exam for life insurance is relatively quick (usually takes 15 to 45 minutes), and you can choose a place that works best for you.

Most importantly, a medical exam can help you get the best life insurance rates.

That’s why life insurance companies generally base their rates on your life expectancy, not your age. As a general rule, the younger and healthier someone is, the lower their life insurance premiums will be. But even if you’re confident in your health, you shouldn’t take on the medical exam without preparation.

Use these tips to pass your medical exam and save thousands on your life insurance rates.