What is sick sinus syndrome?
The sinus node is a built-in pacemaker that controls heart rhythm by producing steady electrical impulses. When the node doesn’t work properly, arrhythmia can occur.
Any irregular heartbeat characterizes sick sinus syndrome. Beats can be too slow, too fast, or long pauses between beats. The syndrome is not very common, but the risk increases with age, mostly occurring around age 70. Many people with the syndrome eventually require a pacemaker.
The term used for an abnormally low heart rate is sinoatrial block. Sometimes, the heart switches between fast and slow rhythm referred to as bradycardia-tachycardia syndrome. A sinus arrest, on the other hand, happens when the sinus pauses. This causes your heart to skip its beats.
How do I know if I’m experiencing this sick sinus syndrome?
Tell-tale symptoms could be:
- Fainting (syncope)
- Brain fogs and inability to focus
- Chest pain accompanied by shortness of breath
- Bradycardia- a slower than normal pulse rhythm
These symptoms can be identical to other illnesses, so it is important to consult a doctor right away to determine your condition and find a possible solution.
What could be the probable causes of this sick sinus syndrome?
There are a lot of factors that trigger SSS, including:
- Scars from previous heart surgery
- Wear and tears on heart muscles
- Hyperkalemia (the presence of too much potassium in the blood)
- Calcium channel blockers and beta blockers to aid high blood pressure
- Sleep apnea
- Previous occurrence of heart attack
- Thyroid diseases
There are also cases wherein the infection of the heart muscle (Diphtheria) or the condition in which a person’s body muscles could be damaged or weak (Muscular Dystrophy) can be factors for the Sick Sinus Syndrome.
Can I get life insurance with sick sinus syndrome?
Yes, you can get life insurance with sick sinus syndrome. Having an irregular heartbeat does make obtaining life insurance more difficult, but it is not impossible.
How does sick sinus syndrome or sinus node dysfunction relate to life insurance?
Life insurance companies first need a firm diagnosis.
Sick sinus syndrome can be difficult to diagnose. The abnormal rhythm must show up on an ECG, and sometimes that is difficult to do because the irregular beat is intermittent.
Many people have no symptoms. Some individuals later develop symptoms that worsen into atrial fibrillation or brady-tachy. Both of these diagnoses put you at much higher risk of stroke.
Diagnosis called Holter monitoring is usually done with ECG or longer term ECG monitoring over a period of time. Diagnosis is usually a fast or slow heartbeat (bradycardia or tachycardia, respectively).
Some are diagnosed with a fast-slow alternating syndrome called brady-tachy syndrome. A pacemaker usually fixes slow heart rates. Medication designed to slow your heart rate is used to treats rapid beats.
You might need both meds and a pacemaker.
Is this a high-risk condition?
Most insurance companies rate sick sinus syndrome as a high-risk condition because it involves your heart. Even if you don’t have any symptoms, you will be seen as a high-risk candidate.
Charges from other insurance companies can be really high, so it is important to seek help from trusted professionals to find the best bang for your buck.
Do high-risk conditions affect my life insurance rates?
Underwriters have different ratings in the AF guidelines. High-risk conditions affect your ability to get life insurance. They also affect your rate, but there are companies that will approve you and give you a decent rate.
Insurance companies want to see that you’re taking every possible measure to control your condition. This is absolutely the best way you can ensure the best rate for yourself. First, make sure you have a doctor describe in detail your diagnosis of sick sinus syndrome.
If your doctor has prescribed a treatment plan, make sure you are following it to the letter by performing all tests and taking all necessary medications.
Proof of regular cardiology visits will certainly help your case. Underwriters want to see a proven track record. Ideally, they’d like to see records for your condition over a period of as much as two years. It is best to compile them so you’ll have them handy by the time you’ll need to present them.
During that time, they’d like evidence that you’ve followed doctors’ orders and taken medications.
They’re also looking to see if your condition has stabilized over that period of time.
Insurance companies use the following information to determine your insurance rating:
- Type of sick sinus syndrome (your diagnosis)
- How long your condition has been present
- Detailed symptom list
- Most recent ECG results
- Other cardiac tests, including stress tests
- Medications list
Insurance companies will also examine your lifestyle risks. Some of these bad habits might worsen your condition. Whether you smoke and how much alcohol you consume all factor in.
Also, you’ll have to let them know how you are managing your symptoms.
They’ll examine other ailments you might have (history of heart attack, high blood pressure, etc.).
These might complicate your sick sinus syndrome. Most related conditions are heart conditions, but other conditions like hypothyroidism have been linked with sick sinus syndrome in rare cases.
The insurance company will factor in all of the above to determine your final class rating.
Preferred is the highest rating and it is unlikely you’ll get this rating with sick sinus syndrome.
You could get a standard rating if you can show sufficient evidence that your syndrome is under control and has been stable for a long period of time.
For the substandard table rated class, most people with the syndrome fall here.
How do I find the perfect life insurance for my Sick Sinus Syndrome?
Our credible agents at Heart Life Insurance will help you obtain the proper underwriting information and help you to find the best options for your specific case. Because we specialize in both low and high-risk cases, we can give you adequate guidance to know all the steps you should take and find the best policies for your condition.
We have high success rates getting affordable life insurance options for people suffering from SSS, so get a free quote today and let’s find the best choice for you.