In many instances you should be able to find low cost life insurance if you have been diagnosed with epilepsy.
It is a chronic disorder but can be very treatable.
What is Epilepsy?
Epilepsy may also be known as a “seizure disorder.” The condition is characterized by unpredictable seizures and can cause other health problems.
Epilepsy is caused by an electrical event in the human brain and can affect any part of the body. Where it occurs in the brain along with how much of the brain it entails, and how it spreads to other parts of the body can impact individuals differently who have this disorder. The condition can impact your work, driving and even your social relationships.
A seizure is caused by a sudden surge of electrical activity in the nerve cells of the brain. The surge of electrical activity that initiates a seizure is caused by chemical changes.
Some seizures are barely noticeable while others are more pronounced. Most seizures generally last for a short duration of time.
Epilepsy can occur at any age. Some people have a genetic disposition to the disease, and some conditions can occur from structural changes in the brain. Epilepsy or seizure disorders can also be caused as a result of an injury, a brain malformation, an infection, a stroke, a tumor or other causes.
There are several groups of seizures which include:
Partial (focal) Epilepsy
The seizure activity remains confined to a localized area in one of the cerebral hemispheres. The seizures are usually idiopathic (no known cause) in children but may be secondary in adults. These include:
• Simple partial seizures
Consciousness is preserved and has localized symptoms that may last for a few seconds, and may include numbness, twitching, nausea, dizziness or altered senses (hearing, vision, smell, taste). Progression to other types of seizures is relatively common. This group includes motor (Jacksonian), sensory, autonomic and psychic seizures.
• Complex partial seizures
These seizures can impair consciousness, and includes focal motor symptoms such as convulsive jerking, automatisms such as repetitive lip smacking, swallowing, picking at clothing, wandering or numbness or tingling that spread or march to different parts of the limb or body. This group includes temporal lobe, automatic (involving automatisms) and psychomotor seizures.
• Partial seizures secondarily generalized
These evolve from simple partial seizures or complex partial seizures, spreading to both cerebral hemispheres and usually resulting in a generalized tonic-clonic seizure. It is important to distinguish these seizures from a primary generalized seizure, as there are differences in evaluation and treatment.
Abnormal electrical activity is widespread in the brain and primarily of developmental origin and includes:
• Absence (petit mal) seizures
These usually begin in childhood and have no known cause. Seizures are characterized by clouding of consciousness for less than one or as long as 30 seconds. The person may stare blankly, appear to be daydreaming, miss words in conversation, and be unaware of the episode. There can be impaired consciousness and at times mild tonic, clonic, atonic with loss of postural tone, or autonomic with components such as enuresis. Seizures may occur 50 to 100 times per day and many go undetected.
Atypical Absence Seizures
Similar to absence seizures but characterized by more marked impairment with more gradual onset and longer duration. They are more commonly associated with underlying neurological disease.
• Tonic-clonic (grand mal) seizures
A typical seizure may begin with an aura. Aura is described as a subjective sensation often in the epigastric region or a feeling of dread. The next phase is the sudden onset tonic phase that lasts about a minute during which all skeletal muscles contract and the person falls stiffly to the ground. Consciousness is lost. This is followed by the clonic phase that lasts one to several minutes and involves rhythmic muscle jerking movements. The individual may clench the jaw, bite the tongue and experience bowel or bladder incontinence. Consciousness may not return for 10 to 15 minutes and confusion, drowsiness and headache may last for hours or days. Usual age of onset is adolescence or early adulthood, although they can first occur at any age.
Other Generalized Seizures
• Myoclonic seizures
Quick, involuntary single or multiple forceful jerks. They usually begin in childhood and may be associated with other types of generalized seizures.
• Tonic seizures
Violent muscle spasms or stiffening usually lasting less than a minute. They usually begin in childhood and may be associated with other types of seizures.
• Clonic seizures
Slower repetitive muscle jerks; usually brief and associated with other types of seizures.
• Atonic seizures
Also known as “drop attacks” and characterized by sudden loss of postural tone. They are associated with high risk of injury. Within seconds, the person regains consciousness and can stand again.
Other types of seizures
• Febrile seizures
Generalized tonic-clonic seizures that occur in otherwise normal, healthy children from the ages of 1 through 6 years. They occur with fever during an illness. Some of these children may have future febrile seizures, but most do not go on to develop epilepsy. Risk factors for future epilepsy include history of prior neurological problems, a partial seizure lasting more than 20 minutes, an abnormal EEG, and a family history of epilepsy.
• Nocturnal seizures
Nocturnal seizures occur during sleep and are associated with little excess mortality. However, seizures first presenting as nocturnal may actually be another type of seizure that simply occurred first during the night, and in this case should be underwritten according to the type of underlying seizure.
• Reflex seizures
Seizures caused by identified precipitants such as visual stimuli. For example, seizures caused by flickering light of the television called “television epilepsy”. Removal of the stimulus eliminates the problem, and there is little excess mortality.
• Status epilepticus (SE)
Status epilepticus is defined as continuous seizure activity lasting at least 30 minutes or two or more sequential seizures without full recovery of consciousness between episodes. SE is a medical emergency because of the possibility of cerebral damage and cardiac or renal failure. It has a mortality of 10% to 15% and can indicate a severe underlying nervous system disorder. Long-term mortality is worse in those with myoclonic SE, those in which SE lasts more than 24 hours, those with SE developing within 1 week of acute CNS or systemic metabolic insult, and in individuals with SE at age 65 and older.
• Primary Generalized Seizures – begin as a widespread electrical discharge that occurs in both sides of the brain simultaneously.
• Partial Seizures – occur with an electrical discharge in a limited section of the brain. Partial seizures can be defined further depending on whether a person’s consciousness and/or awareness are affected.
Some people have their episodes initiated by “triggers” which brings about the onset of a seizure such as time of day, sleep deprivation, flashing bright lights, alcohol and drug use, hormonal changes, low blood sugar, medications and other causes.
How Does Epilepsy Affect Your Life Insurance Rating
Epilepsy affects different people differently. The good news is that there are many forms of treatments available that can help a person control their episodes such as medications, surgery, dietary therapies, devices and other treatment approaches.
Many but not all life insurance companies tend to treat anyone who has epilepsy relatively the same and take the approach that anyone having this condition can see a reduction in their overall life span.
This is not the case for all insurers. Some insurers recognize that there are different types of seizures and that some people have their disorder well-controlled through medication, and that the seizures are either infrequent or of a very mild variety.
All insurers will vary ratings based on the type of epilepsy seizure. Grand Mal or tonic-clonic seizures will generally be rated higher than simple or partial seizure disorders.
How you are diagnosed, the frequency of your seizures, and the extent of accompanying symptoms can all have a bearing on how you are rated by an insurer. The best health rating you might expect for life insurance with epilepsy would be standard or a lower rating.
Information Used By Insurers to Rate Epilepsy
The following information will be used by an insurer to rate a person who has epilepsy and includes:
• Date of diagnosis and date of last seizure
• Type of epilepsy that has been diagnosed
• Types of symptoms which accompany a seizure
• Frequency of seizures – best ratings are available for those whose seizures have been eliminated by treatment
• Medications prescribed
• The person’s occupation, engages in hazardous activities, and whether the person drives a vehicle
Finding Affordable Life Insurance With Epilepsy
You can find low cost insurance approval with epilepsy especially if you go through an independent insurance agent who can perform the comparison shopping for you.
At Abram Insurance Solutions, we have access to over 70 life insurance companies and we know which ones are the best life insurance companies that are the most lenient when it comes to issuing a policy for someone with epilepsy and other health related conditions.
Why You Should Use Abrams Insurance Solutions
The type of rating assessment for those who have epilepsy will depend on many different factors. Fortunately, here at Abrams Insurance Solutions, we have an underwriting advisor who is familiar with epilepsy and how each insurance company views a candidate with epilepsy.
This allows the advisor to not only thoroughly review the health history of our clients, but they can help guide us towards the life insurance company that will provide the lowest rates for your particular and unique situation.
If you have any questions or need advice during the process of finding life insurance approval with epilepsy, or any other health related concerns, then call us at 858-703-6178 today because we can help you get approved at the lowest rates possible.