Tips for the Paramedical Exam
Paramedical Exam Tips
Most life insurance applications require a paramedical examination or a full medical exam including blood and/or urine samples. The requirements depend upon the amount of life insurance and age of applicant. Smaller amounts of life insurance at a young age often do not require such examinations or body fluid samples. Prior to the exam, applicants are pre-warned of all requirements and a professional paramedical nurse or doctor schedules the appointment. Appointments are scheduled within the applicant’s availability and in the comfort of one’s own home or office. The insurance company, to which the application is submitted, pays for the exam.
If you are scheduled for a blood sample and/or urine test, the following is recommended:
- It is normal for anyone to become anxious about having their blood pressure taken. You will improve your chances of a proper reading by asking the examiner if you can relax for a few minutes after their arrival before your blood pressure is recorded. Should you initially have elevated blood pressure readings, ensure that the examiner takes and documents more than one reading during the exam.
- Do not consume any food for a minimum of 8 hours before your blood is drawn. Abstinence from eating for a longer duration may be required. If this is the case, your paramedical representative will provide more precise instructions.
- Drink at least one six oz. glass of water one hour before a urine exam.
- Avoid consuming caffeine for several hours prior to your appointment. Limit caffeine consumption 48 hours before the examination. Avoid caffeine the morning of the examination as caffeine increases blood pressure and pulse rate. It can even provoke an irregular heart rate (arrhythmia). It is important to note that there are various sources of caffeine aside from coffee and tea (i.e. diet soft drinks, cold preparations, pain medications, etc.).
- If you use tobacco products, do not do so for at least one hour prior to your appointment. If you are scheduled for a urine sample, your urine will be tested for nicotine. You do not have to be a cigarette smoker to have nicotine discovered in your urine sample. Smoking cigars, chewing tobacco, snuff, the nicotine patch and nicotine gum can all cause nicotine to be detected in the urine sample. It is important that you “disclose” any nicotine products you are using to the medical examiner at the time of test. Failure to disclose nicotine usage paired with discovery of nicotine in the urine may suggest “lack of full disclosure.”
- If you consume alcohol, you should avoid all alcohol consumption, preferably 48 hours before the examination. Alcohol consumption can increase blood pressure and adversely affect certain elements of the blood study.
- Avoid exercise the day of your appointment. Exercise, especially cardiovascular workouts, can cause inaccurate elevations of cholesterol levels.
If you are taking prescription medication, continue taking the medication as directed by your physician. If you are not taking prescription medication as directed (i.e. forgot to get a refill, taking the medications only occasionally) you should not be examined until you return to the proper medication schedule.
Failure to verify compliance with prescription medications may lead to adverse findings on the medical examination (i.e. elevated blood pressure, elevated cholesterol levels, elevated blood sugar levels, etc. Taking acetaminophen (Tylenol) before a liver function test can alter the results; giving an underwriter an inaccurate analysis of a proposed life insured’s health.
If you require pulmonary function testing, please note that the quality of the test is determined by the effort (i.e. how much air is taken into the lungs and how hard and how long it is expelled) and the tightness of the seal on the mouth piece. If you do not take care to closely follow the above guidelines for pulmonary function testing, you may have your test interpreted incorrectly as abnormal.
If you are required to undergo exercise treadmill testing, you should not eat or drink for four hours prior to the test. You should always have your life insurance blood sample drawn before you undergo an exercise treadmill test.