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June 25, 2020

Cardiac Risk Factor Profile – What Does It Mean?

Introducing the Medical Underwriting Corner.

You may have heard the term “cardiac risk factor profile” and wondered; what does it mean?
Studies have shown that people who have the following medical conditions are more likely to develop vascular disease.

These medical conditions are considered cardiac risk factors:

• High blood pressure (hypertension)
• Elevated lipids (hyperlipidemia)
• Diabetes Mellitus (Types 1 and 2), or glucose intolerance
• Smoking
• Family history of premature vascular disease
• Increasing age
• Overweight or obese build

If cardiac risk factors are not well controlled, progression of atherosclerosis (ongoing deposition of a fatty like substance on the walls of the arteries) may occur over time, resulting in narrowing of the artery, reduced blood flow, and development of one or more of the vascular conditions such as:

Coronary artery disease (CAD) and heart attack (myocardial infarction)
Stroke (cerebrovascular accident – CVA), and transient ischemic attack (TIA)
Impaired blood flow through the major arteries of the body

Maintaining good health consists of:

• Being physically active
• Eating a healthy diet
• Maintaining a normal weight for height
• Having normal blood pressure, blood glucose and cholesterol
• Not smoking

Many of these factors can be assessed by questions on the application, the results of the paramedical exam and the laboratory tests done on blood and urine. All these cardiac risk factors are taken into consideration when underwriting an applicant.

Be sure to check back for future “Medical Underwriting Corner” articles!

-Lisa Papazian, M.D., DBIM

Dr. Papazian is currently Vice-President Chief Medical Director of National Life Group.  She completed college education at Stanford University in California, medical school at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, medical residency training in Internal Medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, and fellowships in Pulmonary Medicine at the Brown University affiliated hospitals in Rhode Island and in Sleep Medicine at SUNY at Stony Brook University Hospital in New York. She is board certified in Insurance Medicine and has worked in the insurance industry for nearly 20 years.