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Heart disease is no longer the number one cause of death for Americans under the age of 85. Dramatic decreases in the death rate per 100,000 have been cut almost in half for both men and women in a study that spanned 1980 to 2000. This bumped cancer up to the number one position for the first time. From a life insurance standpoint, this could be good news as the decrease seems to be more linked to preventive medicine and treatment than any significant nationwide lifestyle change.

In a New York Times article today, there is optimism about the decrease in deaths dusted with a bit of pessimism as the downward trend could be stopped or even reversed as obesity and diabetes numbers skyrocket. Both obesity and diabetes are primary contributing factors in heart disease.

The study noted that the one lifestyle change that has had a dramatic impact is a decline in smoking . While there has been a large decline in the percentage of the population that smokes, about 45 million adults still smoke and with about 20% of teens still smoking, there should be plenty to replace the adults.

Just an underwriting reminder for those who choose to walk both ends of this discussion and continue to smoke even after being diagnosed with heart disease. Underwriters will be nothing short of brutal when they make their decision. Life insurance companies already make it clear where they stand on smoking with the rates they offer a healthy smoker. When you couple that with a disease who claims smoking as one of its’ primary risk factors, well, it just isn’t going to come out making you happy.

Bottom line. Know the risk factors for heart disease and make it your mission to do what you can to avoid them. It will prolong your life and lower your life insurance premiums.

This post is somewhat dated. Life insurance underwriting is changing and evolving continually. For more updated information check out some of the key word links. If you have a specific question or topic you need information for do a search. If you don’t find the answers you need contact me and we’ll make sure you get the information that is important to you.