Cardiovascular diseases

All the organs in the body are important, but the heart certainly deserves a special care. Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are the leading cause of death worldwide. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 75% of CVD deaths occur in low and middle-income countries.

Cardiovascular diseases refer to disorders related to the heart and blood vessels. In the UK, every 7 minutes, somone suffers from a heart attack and around 160,000 people die from heart and circulatory diseases every year. In Portugal, in 2012 there were over 30 000 deaths due to cardiovascular diseases.

The following image describes the different cardiovascular diseases:

Cardiovascular diseases: coronary heart disease – disease of the blood vessels supplying the heart muscle; cerebrovascular disease – disease of the blood vessels supplying the brain; peripheral arterial disease – disease of blood vessels supplying the arms and legs; rheumatic heart disease – damage to the heart muscle and heart valves from rheumatic fever, caused by streptococcal bacteria; congenital heart disease – malformations of heart structure existing at birth; deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism – blood clots in the leg veins, which can dislodge and move to the heart and lungs.

In any of these scenarios, an early detection and management on an existing condition are essential. If you would like to know more about the status of your heart, Medical Port has a special check-up that focuses solely on the heart. Check the image below or send us an email for more information.

Cardiovascular check up

Additionally, adopting healthy habits, as described in the previously article  is also advisable, as smoking, hypertension, diabetes, cholesterol, overweight and a sedentary lifestyle are all risk factors.

Sources: WHO   Heart UK   Revista Factores de Risco

29th September – World Heart Day

World Heart Day is celebrated on the 29th of September. Throughout the world, millions of deaths are linked to heart problems, and many could be avoided with an healthier lifestyle and early prevention mechanisms.

World Heart Day

According to the world Health Organization (WHO), half of all deaths in the European region are due to cardiovascular disease. Africa has the highest prevalence of high blood pressure in the world. Blood pressure is linked to a greater risk of stroke, coronary heart disease and heart failure, among other health issues. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the leading cause of death in USA – it represents 1 in 4 deaths among Americans.

Many factors can contribute to heart problems, such as age, family history, problems like hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, smoking and being overweight.

The do’s and the don’ts

  • Don’t smoke
  • Eat healthy meals, that include plenty of vegetables, fruit, fish and cereal
  • Avoid food that is high on salt, sugar or fat
  • Drink plenty of water

Apart from a healthy diet, some lifestyle habits can also help you achieve better health and prevent heart diseases, such as exercising regularly, doing a leisure active such as reading, gardening or meditating. These hobbies can help you fight stress, which can contribute to heart problems as well. Additionally, don’t underestimate good nights of sleep. Sleep deprivation can increase the risk of stroke and heart disease.

If you want to do a specialised heart check-up while visiting Portugal, you can contact us and we will make all the arrangements according to your availability.

Parents: help your kids reach full potential at school

Sleep, eating habits and motivation are essential for a productive school year. Start implementing good practices from the beginning. We give you some advice coming from our partner, Hospital Lusíadas.

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Sleep

A good night of sleep is essential. A disturbed sleep can result in difficulties in keeping focus, memory loss and tiredness. The ability to store information during a class will be reduced. Additionally, Teresa Moreno, neuropediatrician from Hospital Lusíadas Lisboa, explains that besides resting, sleep plays an important role in strengthening the immune system, in the hormones responsible for the growing, and even in the memory, to mention a few. Lack of sleep is harmful at every age, but even worse during childhood.

Electronic Devices

Studies indicate that devices like tablets, smartphones and such can be more harmful than tv. Children who have access to tablets or smartphones in the bedroom tend to sleep less 21 minutes every night than those who don’t.

Eating

Eating habits of children require a constant care. Meals should be organized according to preferences, school schedule and extra activities like sports. Planning meals ahead will help you make healthier choices.

Meals should include ingredients from the different food groups, with an emphasis on vegetables. Breaks between meals should be no longer than 3 hours. Snacks are important to keep the energy levels and help in the concentration, by giving a feeling of satiation. And don’t forget to include plenty of water in your kids lunchbox!

Studying and motivation

The studying area should be luminous, well ventilated, clean and without distractions or noises. A weekly studying plan is recommended. Parents should demonstrate interest in their kids’ studies and be part of it. They can ask the children to explain what they learned in a creative way, and what was the most interesting topic. Compliments and encouraging words should be used but must be sincere and related to the activity they are doing.

If your children are having trouble with motivation and focusing, contact us to arrange a consultation with within a prestigious psychology clinic

Sources (in Portuguese): Eating    Sleeping    Motivation

 

 

Coping with Burnout

Are you feeling too much stressed out about work, even during the holidays? Feel tired all the time? Don’t care as much about yourself anymore and don’t have much motivation to start a whole new day? You may be suffering from burnout – and you are not alone.

Burnout is a syndrome of overwhelming mental exhaustion, a result of emotional and interpersonal stress factors on the job. Burnout tends to happen more in occupations that deal with people, like healthcare, social services, justice and education, but it can extended to other professional areas and affect people on all levels, from interns to CEOs.

Image: Medical Port
Image: Medical Port

According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), quoting authors Maslach and Jackson, there are three main characteristics of the burnout syndrome: emotional exhaustion, depersonalization and reduced personal accomplishment. Unlike depression, which is considered to be context-free and pervasive across all situations, burnout is specifically job-related.

In a recent article, CBS News reports that people in their 20s and 30s who have lower job satisfaction demonstrate worse mental health and are at higher risk of developing health problems when they reach their forties.  Indeed, according to current research, there are higher rates of burnout among people in their 20s and 30s.

Symptoms

Symptoms of burnout can include: continuous exhaustion, feeling overwhelmed by the smallest work activity, lack in concentration, negativism, irritability, frustration, lack of motivation, among others, even including temporary memory loss. A study from an American HR-focused research firm from 2015 revealed that over 50% of the 2500 workers they surveyed reported the burnout syndrome.

Why you should care

Burnout syndrome will not develop overnight, so pay attention to some warning signs such as the symptoms described above. Seek professional help if you fear you may be suffering from burnout. By not seeking treatment, you are putting your work, health and personal life at risk. As you take less care of yourself and develop nocive behaviors like increased use of alcohol and caffeine and lack of sleep, your immune system may be compromised and you may become more prompt to illness. Burnout treatment will help you regain confidence, restore your brain functions, identify risky behaviors and help you achieve more positive emotions.

Why not overcome burnout by taking some time in a warm and sunny location?

Portugal is a peaceful, welcoming country with good quality of life. If you decide this is your destination for a well-deserved break, you can find many tips throughout this blog, whether you want to visit bigger cities like Lisbon or Oporto or choose a calmer, picturesque area like the Douro region. Additionally, if you wish to get help recovering from a burnout during your stay, Medical Port can help you get an appointment at a prestigious Portuguese psychology clinic, Oficina de PsicologiaRead more on burnout  or contact us now.

Have you taken your child to the pediatrician this year?

August celebrates children’s Eye Health month and Safety. Now it’s the perfect timing to get a pediatric consultation and ensure all is well with your children, just before school starts again. Medical Port can help you book a pediatric consultation while you are enjoying your stay in Portugal.

In 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that over 40 million children under 5 were overweight, a number that tends to rise in all regions. Among teenagers, risky behaviors like alcohol or tobacco use, a sedentary lifestyle, unprotected sex and violence are some of the factors that can put their health at risk, with consequences for the future.

Society, parents and other carers should work together so that children can be first properly informed and followed to grow in a healthy way. A routine visit to a pediatrician is a good start to predict risks and promote a healthy lifestyle.

What can you expect from a visit to the pediatrician? Medical Port has prepared an infographic that covers the most common issues that are evaluated during a pediatric consultation, including physical, behavioral and development aspects.  If you want to know more about getting a pediatric consultation, visit our website.

 

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Click the image to enlarge

Sexually transmitted infections: Chlamydia

Chlamydia is one of the most common Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) worldwide, yet, because of its asymptomatic nature, many people don’t know they are infected. If left untreated, it can lead to serious health complications. Fortunately, nowadays it’s easy to treat chlamydia. The first step is up to you – getting checked.

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Chlamydia is a genital infection with the bacteria chlamydia trachomatis and is one of the most common sexual transmitted infections (STI) worldwide. The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) states that in 2013 there were nearly 400 000 reported cases of chlamydia in the Europe Union. In the USA, in 2014, there were about 1.4 million reported cases. This makes chlamydia the most common STI in both Europe and USA.

Chlamydia can spread through different ways. Unprotected vaginal, anal or oral sex are only some of them. It can also spread just by coming into contact with the genitals of an infected person, even if there is no penetration or ejaculation. Sharing sex toys without being properly washed or covered with a condom is also a risk behavior. You can also get infected by getting semen or vaginal fluids into your eye. Additionally, chlamydia can be passed on by pregnant women to their babies during birth, which can lead to serious health complications for the child.

Because it is often asymptomatic, sometimes for many years, in both women and men, many people are not aware they are infected with chlamydia. When people do develop symptoms, they may experience pain when urinating, unusual discharge from the vagina, penis or rectum. Additionally, women may experience abdominal pain, bleeding during or after sex and between periods. Men may feel some pain and swelling around the testicles.

Do you think you may have been at risk of getting chlamydia?

Chlamydia can be easily detected and treated with a short course regimen of antibiotics. Both test and treatment are very affordable. If left untreated, chlamydia can lead to serious complications like pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), inflammation of the testicles and infertility. If you fear you might have caught chlamydia and you’re in Portugal, Medical Port can help you get an appointment.

The World Health Organization reports that every year there are nearly 500 million new cases of curable STI’s (gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis and trichomoniasis). The burden of such diseases has a greater impact in lower-income countries. However in developed countries chlamydia infections are still on the rise and remain a public health concern.

Sources: NHS, WHO, ECDC