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.

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

 

World Hepatitis Day: knowing the viruses

Yesterday the world observed the “World Hepatitis Day” that was created to raise awareness about this condition. There are five different types of hepatitis: A, B, C, D and E. Viruses B and C are the deadliest ones. Nowadays, Portugal is one of the most successful countries in the world dealing with Hepatitis C.

An image of a doctor writing on a notepad. and a piece of text saying "world hepatitis day 2016"

Hepatitis viruses have different incubation periods and can be symptomless for many years. In fact, less than 5% of infected individuals with hepatitis B and C know that they are infected – even nowadays, when it’s possible to detect Hepatitis with a simple blood test. Among those who are aware that they have hepatitis, the vast majority does not get any type of treatment. In a recent press release by the World Health Organization (WHO), Director General Dr. Margaret Chan says: “The world has ignored hepatitis at its peril. It is time to mobilize a global response to hepatitis on the scale similar to that generated to fight other communicable diseases like HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis.”

The five virus’ types are very distinct and spread in different ways. Transmission of types A and E are linked to eating contaminated food and drinking contaminated water, and is most common in regions that lack access to safe water, as well as in poor sanitation conditions. Hepatitis B and C commonly spread when blood-to-blood contact occurs, through unsafe injections, syringe sharing and medical procedures, during childbirth (from mother to child), and through sexual contact. Hepatitis D is also transmitted via infected blood, however, it only occurs if the person is already infected with the hepatitis B virus.

Currently, Portugal has an unique approach against hepatitis C, offering universal treatment covering people in all stages of the disease, unlike other countries that only treat more advanced cases. Another example of Portugal’s leading expertise on the field is the participation of Dr. Ana Cláudia Miranda, a specialist in infectious diseases, who represents Portugal at “Committed to Cure”, an European initiative to help cure Hepatitis C – in which only countries with solid and renown expertise in Hepatitis C are invited to be part of. 

Like most diseases, it is helpful to keep in mind that prevention and an early diagnosis are the key to stay healthy. If you are planning on coming to Portugal this summer, take the opportunity and look after your health. We will gladly arrange the right check-up for you, based on your needs, preferences and availability.

Source: World Health Organization, World Hepatitis Day, World Hepatitis Alliance, SOS Hepatites, Committed to Cure

Portuguese doctor is the most influential pathologist in the world

Pathologist Manuel Sobrinho Simões

“The Pathologist” magazine asked pathologists all over the world who were the most influential and powerful pathologist professionals. In a list containing 100 medical professionals, Manuel Sobrinho Simões was considered number one.

Pathologist Manuel Sobrinho Simões
Pathologist Manuel Sobrinho Simões

Manuel Sobrinho Simões has been a pathologist for over 40 years and he is the founder and director of IPATIMUP, the leading Portuguese institute of research and diagnosis known for pathologist training and general public education on scientific subjects. His work on the diagnosis of thyroid cancer is highly regarded among his peers internationally. He has won several prizes and awards both nationally and internationally throughout his career, among them is the Commander of the Royal Norwegian Order of Merit for outstanding service in the interests of Norway. Simões is the author of several publications like peer-reviewed journal articles, chapters and books. He held leadership positions in professional organizations like the European Society of Pathology and the European School of Pathology.

The magazine enquiry was: “Who are the most influential laboratory medicine professionals?” and the answer Manuel Sobrinho Simões was the most common. Nominators said for example that Simões “(…) has contributed more than anybody else to the visibility of pathology in Europe.” and “His contributions to the clinical diagnosis of thyroid cancer have been outstanding: hospital pathologists worldwide follow his rules in their day-to-day routines.”

The pathologist said to a Portuguese newspaper that he was surprised but very happy with the distinction. He believes that his nomination is the result of the training programs he held for international young pathologists from all over the world in the past few decades.

Read more about the “100 pathologist power list of 2015here.

The Telegraph calls Portugal the “ultimate pension freedom”

Retire abroad is a dream for many people that live in the UK. They seek a place to spend their retirement with year round sunshine, great food and where their money can be saved. The Telegraph explains how to retire in Portugal and reduce tax spending.

The article refers to the Non Habitual Resident regime created in Portugal, which allows retirees from other countries to move to Portugal and pay no taxes for 10 years:

If you move to sunny Portugal for example, it could be possible to take your UK pension and pay absolutely no tax on it for the first 10 years. This applies even if you withdraw large sums, a move which in the UK could attract crippling tax charges, as such withdrawals are treated and taxed as ordinary income.

This regime has allowed many foreigners to take residency in Portugal when they retire. Making Portugal one of the best places to retire.

The articles also adds that:

To benefit from these rules, retired people would have to plan the move carefully and make sure they meet strict residence criteria both in Britain and their new destination country. And advice from a professional who has experience with the taxation laws of the country to which you intend to move is a must.

Fiscal advice is important to make sure to get the full benefits from the Non Habitual Resident regime. Aware of this concern, Medical Port developed the “For Health Card” to help foreigners willing to move to Portugal providing them with fiscal, real estate, health and leisure services. Cardholders benefit from fiscal advice to help them apply for the Non Habitual Resident regime and take full benefit from the tax-exempt. Learn more about the For Health Card here.

Portugal has plenty of expat retirees; the majority of them are originally from the UK, and they live across the country but mainly in the southern region of the Algarve. Though it is a small country, Portugal has a lot to see and to explore has a retiree. Besides mainland, Portugal has two islands in the middle of the Atlantic, Madeira and Azores that are known for their natural beauty and breath taking landscapes. Recently The Telegraph wrote an article featuring Madeira, one of Portugal’s islands in the Atlantic calling it “the most enviable island on Earth”.

Using Medical Port services, foreigners living in Portugal will be able to get the help they need when booking medical appointments or treatments. A customer care agent that coordinates all the booking details and the medical care with the medical provider will assist them personally. To learn more about Medical Port’s services, click here.

Make health prevention your 2015 New Year’s Resolutions

Make sure your health comes first and get a complete check-up while enjoying the sun in Lisbon.

Medical Port and Sagres Vacations recently partnered to create Medical Tourism programs for Americans who wish to travel to Europe. This partnership aims to let consumers know that Portugal is a great option for Medical Tourism. Medical Port works only with top private hospitals and clinics in Lisbon, Oporto, and the Algarve.

Start off 2015 the best way possible by doing a complete health check-up while you enjoy the best that Lisbon has to offer. Think about historic monuments, mild all year round temperatures, and great Mediterranean style food. “Prevention is the Key” program is a one-week health assessment Medical Tourism package. Health prevention is important and can reduce health risk factors and also improve the length and quality of life. Assess how good your health is and the lifestyle changes you can do to improve it.

The medical component of this package includes:

  • Complete health check-up in private hospital in JCI accredited facilities
  • Different check-up exams for men and women
  • Transfers, hospital concierge, and accommodation.

As for leisure, travellers can enjoy different options:

  • A private tour to discover Lisbon or Oporto and its surroundings
  • Get in shape while enjoying daily countryside and beach walking trails
  • Special options include:
    • Enjoy a relaxing and detox program in a Hotel with SPA
    • Learn more about Mediterranean cuisine with a chef in cooking sessions
    • Experience a private walking tour in Lisbon or Oporto with a professional photographer
    • Sail Tejo or Douro Rivers in a luxury sailboat

When you want to commit to a healthy lifestyle, you should do it with the support of your friends and family. And set realistic and measurable goals. Join this program with your partner and start to reinforce your commitment with healthy living in 2015.

Why choose Portugal?

With centuries of History it’s no surprise that there are plenty of places to see and things to do. From visiting magnificent castles to amazing contemporary art museums, the choice is yours. Portugal is a very safe destination as it’s ranked 18 out of 162 in the Global Peace Index. There’s an average of 3300 hours of sunshine per year, one of the highest in Europe and nearly 30% of the population is fluent in English.

To find out more about this partnership read our previous blog post, here. If you want to know more about “Prevention is the Key” contact Medical Port, or Sagres Vacations.

How to look your best in 2015 in a girls only week

Have you have wondered how you can look younger without going under surgery? Then, the Medical Tourism package “Small details make the difference” is just right for you and your friends.

Medical Port and Sagres Vacations recently partnered to create Medical Tourism programs for Americans who wish to travel to Europe. This partnership aims to let consumers know that Portugal is a great option for Medical Tourism. Medical Port works only with top private hospitals and clinics in Lisbon, Oporto, and the Algarve.

Choose Lisbon or Oporto for a week with friends and get yourself immersed in the right beauty treatments, deep and relaxing sleeping, and a good amount of fun. Look and feel younger and energize yourself for the New Year.

The medical component of the program includes:

  • Dermatology consultation
  • Fine wrinkles treatment
  • Flights, transfers with a private driver, hospital concierge, and accommodation.

As for leisure, travellers can:

  • A day cruise in Tejo River (Lisbon) or Douro River (Oporto)
  • Shopping day with the help of a personal shopper
  • Getting beautified – get your hair, make-up and nails done by professionals
  • SPA session – spend an entire day in a SPA
  • Girls night out – have a girls night with dinner and fun

When it comes to aging there are several ways to deal with this concern, but not all include going under surgery. There are dermatological treatments to make people look and feel younger, and regain confidence in themselves. Also, having time to relax, have fun with friends while traveling are great ways to rejuvenate oneself and feel better.

Why choose Portugal?
With centuries of History it’s no surprise that there are plenty of places to see and things to do. From visiting magnificent castles to amazing contemporary art museums, the choice is yours. Portugal is a very safe destination as it’s ranked 18 out of 162 in the Global Peace Index. There’s an average of 3300 hours of sunshine per year, one of the highest in Europe and nearly 30% of the population is fluent in English.

To find out more about this partnership read our previous blog post, here. If you want to know more about “Small Details Make the Difference” contact Medical Port, or Sagres Vacations.

Portugal as a Medical Tourism destination

Taking advantage of its privileged location in the old continent, being able to offer beach, country and city plans only minutes away from each other, its amazing weather and openness to welcome foreigners Portugal is now a strong player in the provision of Medical Tourism services.

The combination of a long tradition of high-quality touristic offers with state-of-the-art private medical infrastructures, available 24*7, with spotless facilities and private rooms, as well as highly qualified patient-oriented medical teams, fluent in different languages, are the basic ingredients for an high-quality Medical Tourism offer in Portugal.

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HEALTHCARE INDICATORS

According to the Portugal Health System Review 2011 report, from the European Observatory of Health Systems and Policies:

All residents in Portugal have access to health care provided by the National Health Service (NHS), financed mainly through taxation. Approximately one-fifth to a quarter of the population enjoys a second (or more) layer of health insurance coverage through health subsystems and voluntary health insurance. Health care delivery is based on both public and private providers. Public provision is predominant in primary care and hospital care, with a gatekeeping system in place for the former. Pharmaceutical products, diagnostic technologies and private practice by physicians constitute the bulk of private health care provision.

In the last decades many measures have been adopted to improve the performance of the NHS, including public–private partnerships (PPPs) for new hospitals, a change in public hospital management structures, the reorganization of primary care and the creation of long-term care networks.

Portugal’s Key Public Health Indicators are well above European average according to the World Health Organization, namely life expectancy at birth, life expectancy at age 60 and neonatal mortality rates, reinforcing the quality of the Portuguese Healthcare system. As an example, the mortality rate has declined more than 0.8 percentage points since 1975. This trend reflects both an improved access to an expanding health care network and a continuous political commitment, and leads to improved living standards and increasing investment in health care.

All hospitals belonging to the NHS are in the public sector, reporting to the Ministry of Health. Private sector hospitals, where 3 major groups have 80% of the market share, operate under their own management policies.

Additionally, Portugal has around 4 physicians/1000 inhabitants – a value well above the European average – trained by demanding Medical Schools, where just top students are allowed to attend.

Further more, in Portugal 30% of the population is fluent in English, 20% in French, 10% in Spanish. These percentages are considerably higher in the services sector and especially in the health care sector, where the medical bibliography is mainly accessible in English and French.

In line with the Portuguese hospitality, the country’s medical teams give the personal and human care patients need. They have the vocation and make the time for it.

Besides analyzing major trends on health indicators in Portugal, another curious marker of the country’s performance are, naturally, blogs, in which foreigners living in Portugal share their experiences. Living In the Sun, the blog of a British citizen living in Portugal states that “by conducting adequate research and ensuring that you have gone through the correct processes, you can be sure that you will receive the same high quality health care that you are used to getting in the UK. The Portuguese health system is very efficient and has an extremely good reputation for standards of care, so you will certainly not be jeopardizing your health by moving here!”.

A LONG TRADITION OF PRIZES AND AWARDS

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Just to highlight the most recent ones:

  • Lisbon was awarded Europe’s Leading City Break Destination 2013 by the World Travel Awards;
  • The magazine “Condé Nast Traveller” elected Portugal the best destination to travel in 2013;
  • The guide “Lonely Planet” classified Oporto and the Douro Valley as the first destination in Europe to be visited in 2013;
  • TripAdvisor website visitors elected Lisbon as the best city in the world for its quality/price relationship;
  • The British journal “The Telegraph” named the Alentejo region as “the paradise for food lovers” at the beginning of 2013;
  • Portugal won the prize for the best golf destination in Europe in 2012 and was elected as the best destination for golf holidays by international travel agencies in the scope of the Travel Agent Choice Awards.

MAKING THE RIGHT DECISION

When it comes to Medical Tourism decisions, we want, first of all, to be sure about the quality of the healthcare provider’s infrastructures and teams. But there is much more beyond this. In Portugal, patients are having their medical treatments in one of the safest countries in the world – 18th out of 162 in the Global Peace Index 2013 of the Institute of Economics & Peace –, whilst hosted by highly professional medical teams that hold the warm and humane touch that characterizes Portuguese nature.

In Portugal, patients can take advantage of the country’s warm and sunny weather, where mild winters allow outside treatments, combining the sun’s healing capacities with advanced medical programs. And shortly after, one can choose to play golf, go to the beach, do exquisite river cruises, or go on a shopping spree, in one of the safest and language-savvy countries in the world. All together, this configures a safe and very attractive ecosystem for Medical Tourism in Europe.

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If you considering healthcare abroad, visit Medical Port’s website for more information about procedures, hospitals and doctors available in Portugal. You can also use our contacts page.