Most sleep apnea is diagnosed first by the person sleeping next to the apneatic. While on a trip to Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina I got to experience firsthand the room shaking impact of sleep apnea. Having some knowledge of the problem and knowing that I could well experience this 50-100 times that night, I found another room in the church we were housed in to call my home.

According to the American Sleep Apnea Association, “Sleep apnea is very common, as common as adult diabetes, and affects more than twelve million Americans, according to the National Institutes of Health. Risk factors include being male, overweight, and over the age of forty, but sleep apnea can strike anyone at any age, even children.”

I knew that sleep apnea from a life insurance underwriting standpoint can be problematic, depending on the company it was underwritten through. Some companies will charge abusively high rates if the issue is even mentioned. Other more discerning companies at least allow some difference in underwriting depending on the type of apnea and the severity. In most cases, with either surgical correction of obstructive sleep apnea or control through use of a cpap, better than standard rates can be found. A good independent agent can help assemble the right information and ferret out the right company for each situation.

There was a time when I thought the real mortality risk of sleep apnea was the possibility of being murdered in your sleep by a fed up spouse. The ASAA shed some light on other possible concerns for underwriters.

Untreated, sleep apnea can cause high blood pressure and other cardiovascular disease, memory problems, weight gain, impotency, and headaches. Moreover, untreated sleep apnea may be responsible for job impairment and motor vehicle crashes.”

It can be very tricky when you start combining issues such as sleep apnea with being a private pilot. Again, depending on the severity and treatment compliance, some companies will run screaming into the dark, while others will weigh carefully how seriously a pilot takes the sleep apnea issue and the actual risk if they are in fact compliant with their cpap use.  Again, a good independent agent will make a huge difference.

Bottom line. An angry spouse is not the only mortality issue with sleep apnea.

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.