Life Insurance with Aortic Valve Stenosis
When looking for life insurance with aortic heart valve stenosis, many people mistakenly believe that they can no longer qualify for coverage. While some companies may decline your application or charge you an exorbitant rate, there are a handful of top-rated life insurers that specialize in approvals for aortic valve stenosis.
While it’s unlikely to qualify for the top life insurance rate class, “Preferred Best,” with aortic valve stenosis, you may be able to qualify for an average or “Standard” rate class with some companies, depending on the severity of your stenosis.
In this article, we’ll explain some insider’s tips to getting the best rate on your policy, and will also provide sample life insurance rates for applicants with aortic valve stenosis.
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What Is Aortic Valve Stenosis?
The human heart consists of four valves that control blood flow. The aortic valve and the pulmonary valve control blood flow out of the heart, while the mitral and the tricuspid valve control blood flow into the heart. In a healthy heart, blood flows through the heart without obstruction, in one direction.
The aortic valve is responsible for regulating blood flow from the heart to the aorta, which is the largest artery in the human body. Aortic valve stenosis occurs when the aortic valve narrows, reducing blood flow from the heart to the rest of the body. Over time, the narrowed aortic valve forces the left heart ventricle to work harder. This overworking can result in further stress on the heart and lead to heart enlargement.Aortic valve stenosis is a fairly common condition for older males, especially between the ages of 65 and 75. About 2% of the American male population develops aortic valve stenosis after the age of 65, often due to calcium buildup on the aortic valve, which is usually hereditary or the result of a sedentary lifestyle.
Although less common, some people are also born with aortic valve stenosis, or it can be caused by childhood exposure to rheumatic fever.
What are the Symptoms of Aortic Valve Stenosis?
Like other circulatory issues, common symptoms of aortic valve stenosis include; lightheadedness, weakness, becoming tired easily, shortness of breath, or dizziness. In more severe situations, aortic valve stenosis can also result in chest pains, fainting, a bloody cough, or heart failure.
Alarmingly, most causes of aortic stenosis go unnoticed or are undiagnosed until symptoms start to occur during the advanced stages. Aortic Valve Stenosis can take decades to progress and may result in a heart murmur that can be detected by a primary care physician.
Aortic valve stenosis can also be identified by preventive heart tests like an echocardiogram, EGC, or a treadmill stress test. These tests can usually be performed in 20 minutes or less, and are commonly recommended for people after the age of 50.
Risk Factors for Aortic Valve Stenosis
According to Hopkins Medicine, aortic stenosis is often hereditary and individuals with a family history of aortic stenosis may be twice as likely to experience aortic valve narrowing. If your parent or parents had aortic valve stenosis, some life insurance companies will hold this family history against you and charge you a more expensive rate for your life insurance.
In fact, they might even offer you no better than a “Standard Plus” rate, the third highest rate class, causing the price of your policy to increase by more than 30%. For this reason, we always recommend shopping the market with an independent agency to avoid overpaying for your life insurance coverage.Life insurance is always less expensive when you are younger and healthier. Rates typically increase by 8% to 11% per year after the age of 50. If you are at a higher risk for heart disease due to hereditary factors, we recommend buying your life insurance sooner than later. Other risk factors for aortic valve stenosis include; smoking, high cholesterol, elevated blood pressure, being overweight, and having a sedentary lifestyle.
If you have a family history of heart issues or aortic valve stenosis, leading an active lifestyle can decrease your risk of developing heart disease. Eat a healthy diet, manage your cholesterol/blood pressure, and avoid using tobacco. In addition, having annual check-ups with your physician and periodic heart tests may help you to catch any heart issues you have early, enabling your doctor to help slow progression.
Common Treatments for Aortic Valve Stenosis
Many mild cases of aortic valve stenosis do not require any form of treatment and have minimal symptoms. In moderate causes, a medication like Furosemide or Lasix may be prescribed to reduce the amount of salt and water in the body. In severe causes of aortic valve stenosis, aortic valve repair or aortic valve replacement may be necessary.
Aortic Valve Repair Surgery
In cases where an aortic valve repair is necessary, a procedure known as a balloon valvuloplasty is performed. During a balloon valvuloplasty, a catheter tipped with a balloon is inserted into the affected valve and inflated to stretch the valve open. Once the valve is opened, the balloon is deflated and the catheter is removed. For many patients, this is only a temporary solution that later needs to be repeated.
An aortic valve repair procedure is minimally invasive and carries a minimal risk of complications or infections. To learn more about aortic valve repair, please read our extensive guide on aortic valve repair here.
Aortic Valve Replacement
The vast majority of severe aortic valve stenosis cases are treated by replacing the aortic valve with a mechanical valve or a tissue valve made from cow or pig tissue. Tissue valves tend to be a temporary solution, as they often narrow and need to be replaced after a few years. Mechanical valves rarely need replaced, but they carry an increased risk of blood clots.
Because of the increased risk of blood clot formation, many mechanical heart valve recipients are required to take a blood thinner for the rest of their lives. Common blood thinning medications include; Coumadin, Warfarin, and Plavix.
We’ve created an informative guide for life insurance after a heart valve replacement, including actual rates and tips to save on the cost of your coverage. To learn more about aortic valve replacement, skip to our heart valve replacement guide.
Actual Rates for Applicants with Aortic Valve Stenosis
Aortic valve stenosis is usually classified as mild, moderate or severe. As we mentioned earlier, most mild cases of aortic valve stenosis go unnoticed for years and do not require treatment.
Life insurance companies are the most lenient with applicants whose stenosis has been diagnosed as slight or mild. If this is you, there is a chance you could qualify for a “Standard” rate class with some companies, especially after the age of 50.
The life insurance company will evaluate your overall health, and whether or not your aortic valve stenosis has required surgery. Applicants who have not had surgery performed receive the best rates, which is another reason why we always recommend applying for your life insurance coverage early. Mild or slight aortic valve stenosis is usually void of symptoms and does not restrict your daily activities or ability to exercise.
Please note that the rates displayed above are for mild aortic valve stenosis for an applicant that is in otherwise good health. To obtain an accurate rate for your exact age, or if your aortic stenosis has been classified as “moderate” or “severe,” its best to call us directly to speak with an expert.
Within a few minutes, we’ll be about to shop 63 top-rated life insurance companies to find your best options. We can be reached toll-free at: 855-247-9555, or you can request a free quote below to compare dozens of companies in less a minute.
How We Can Help You Save Money on Life Insurance, Even if You Have Aortic Valve Stenosis
At JRC Insurance Group, we work with more than 50 top-rated life insurance companies, some of which actually specialize in approvals for applicants with heart issues. By working directly with dozens of life insurance companies, we’re able to shop the market on your behalf, and we may be able to save you up to 73% on the cost of your life insurance. We are an owner-operated independent life insurance agency, and our service is free.
If you have been diagnosed or treated for aortic valve stenosis and are considering purchasing life insurance, JRC can help. With a few questions about your health and lifestyle, we’ll be able to provide you with the most affordable options available. There is no cost to apply for coverage, so give us a call today, toll-free at: 855-247-9555, or request a free quote online using the button below.
Managing Partner and Co-founder
Cliff is a licensed life insurance agent and one of the owners of JRC Insurance Group. He has helped thousands of families of businesses with their life insurance needs since 2012 and specializes with applicants who are less than perfect health. In his spare time he enjoys spending time with family, traveling, and the great outdoors.