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Usually the first shot in the arsenal of ways to deal with type 2 diabetes is diet and exercise. The great thing if it works is that the diabetes can be controlled or beaten, a life style changed, and absolutely no negative side effects.

The American Heart Association has released guidelines for exercise for those with type 2 diabetes that look strangely similar to the guidelines they recommend for everyone else who wants to stay heart healthy. The difference is in the urgency. 70% of deaths in type 2 diabetics are heart related. It is a disease that just takes no prisoners among those who don’t fight back.

I’ve shared in previous posts how our current economy is hitting those with chronic diseases hard, often leading to self adjusting medications to keep the cost down. The two and a half hours of moderate exercise that the AHA recommends weekly is a free way to take back some of the control that the recession has taken away. With obesity being the leading cause of type 2 diabetes and heart disease being the leading cause of death from type 2, obviously anything that can be done to work on weight and strengthen your cardiovascular system is going to be in your favor. The truth is that if you can manage to take control of the obesity issue, you can often kick the need for diabetes medicine altogether.

One of the biggest concerns with diabetes is its’ progression, both where it comes from and where it leads to and the mortality risk associated with the health issues along that whole path. If in the beginning is obesity, then underwriters are not only looking at diabetes, but a host of other health issues including heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and cancer. On the other end of the journey uncontrolled diabetes can cause kidney damage, eyesight problems and heart disease.

Having said all of that it’s hard to imagine that anyone with type 2 diabetes would be approved at all for life insurance, but like most chronic diseases, if well controlled and taken seriously, the mortality risk and risk of complications is dramatically reduced. For the best underwriting success with diabetes an underwriter would like to see onset after age 50, an A1c of 6.5 or under, and no other collateral health issues. Very often this can mean standard or better rates are available. If a person is age 60 and has had diabetes for 5 years or less, at least one company has indicated their best rate class is available.

Bottom line. Just like everyone has been telling us forever, eat right and get plenty of exercise. The benefits go way beyond good life insurance rates with demonstrable changes in health and lifestyle making quality of life what we really all wish it would be.