Friday, October 9, 2009

Why is Medical Tourism a Solution for the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom?

At this moment the healthcare crisis in the U.S can be likened to a pressure cooker that is about to blow its top. The number of uninsured or underinsured Americans is close to Fifty million, and shows little sign of diminishing. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the elderly make up twenty-three percent of the major costs of U.S healthcare spending and each year more people are entering these age brackets as the baby boomers mature and get older.It is projected that:
The number of Americans aged 65 or over will double by 2050
The number of people age 85 or over will quadruple by 2050
By 2030 over half of U.S. adults will be over age 50
The over 65 population will nearly triple as a result of the aging Boomers.
More than six of every 10 Boomers will be managing more than one chronic condition.
Although Canada has an admirable healthcare system in many respects, many residents admit that there is a serious crisis brewing. Poor government funding has led to a notable lack of physicians, nurses, and state-of-the-art medical equipment. This, in addition to the long waiting times for many surgical procedures, has created unrest and an urgent call for healthcare reform. According to a 2007 article in the Christian Science Monitor, Britain's Department of Health reported that at any given time, nearly 900,000 Britons are waiting for admission to National Health Service hospitals, and shortages force the cancellation of more than 50,000 operations each year.In each of these cases the government has failed to adequately meet the basic healthcare needs of many of its citizens. As baby boomers age and the current healthcare system is stretched to the breaking point, expect individuals and businesses to look at new ways of regaining control of their healthcare. The medical tourism phenomenon is a natural outgrowth of these conditions – an outlet if you will, for people trapped by an unwieldy system that offers little hope for a better tomorrow. Long wait times for certain procedures is also a big factor for residents of Canada and other countries with socialized medicine, and is effectively forcing people to look for other options, including medical tourism. Wait times of a year or more are quite common in Canada and England. Contrast this with “wait times” of weeks or even days at many medical tourism destinations.

Twelve Natural Health Tips for Smart Travel

(NaturalNews) Traveling can be hard on your health. Increased stress, changing time zones and difficulty finding healthy food can all negatively impact your health. And if you travel by air, you have the added problems of exposure to airborne pathogens, fragrance chemicals, and other pollutants brought into your air space by unhealthy people. On top of that, there's the additional difficulty of bringing all your health supplements, superfoods and appliances with you (a Vita-Mix is heavy!).So how can you protect yourself from sickness and environmental stress when traveling while still providing yourself with your most important health supplements and superfoods? Being an experienced traveler myself, I'll share with you my best tips for maximizing your health when traveling on planes, trains or automobiles.
Tip #1: Boost your immune system before you goDon't dare walk into an airport, train station or other public place without protecting your immune system first. How do you accomplish that? It's simple: For at least three days before your trip, start drinking lots of vegetable juice and taking immune-boosting herbal supplements. It's even better if you're drinking fresh juices every day as a regular habit, but if you're not, at least kick in the healthful juices before you travel.On the supplements side, I like to take Kyolic garlic supplements (, medicinal mushrooms (, Echinacea, goldenseal, ginger and other similar immune herbs ( It's also important to get plenty of zinc in your diet by eating pumpkin seeds or taking high-quality zinc supplements. Taking lots of vitamin C and vitamin D3 is also helpful, but be sure to get them from high-quality supplements (I don't recommend cheap multivitamins like the Centrum brand). The best sources for high-end individual supplements are and (check out their Super Essentials fish oils with astaxanthin.
Tip #2: Bring superfood powders for instant mealsHaving superfood powders with you at all times is a great travel strategy, even if you're just traveling to a relative's house for a few days (your relatives probably aren't as health conscious as you are, right?). Don't clobber your immune system by eating the junk in their refrigerator; bring your own superfoods and amaze (or annoy) your friends and relatives with your own astonishing commitment to a truly healthful diet!Which superfood products should you bring? There are a lot of them I recommend, including Living Fuel (, Boku Superfood (, Healthforce Nutritionals (, HempShake (, Emerald Balance ( and Delicious Greens ( There's even a new product I just saw at Whole Foods called Amazing Meal ( I haven't tried it yet, but I know their Amazing Grass product is high quality, and I intend on reviewing their Amazing Meal product soon.

How safe is surgery abroad?

About 100,000 Brits paid for private dental and medical work abroad last year. But how big are the risks? Your Life investigates..
A growing number of Britons are flying overseas looking for cheaper, and often faster, medical treatment. And they are not just after breast implants and tummy tucks...
The latest trend is for dental work. This is not surprising as, according to the Citizens' Advice Bureau, seven million British adults don't have access to a dentist.
The problem became worse in 2006 when new dental contracts were introduced and 1,000 dentists left the NHS.
"With high treatment costs and a shortage of NHS dentists, it's no wonder people are going abroad," says Keith Pollard, managing director of Treatment Abroad, a medical tourism information provider.
"In Hungary - the top spot for dental tourism - a root canal costs £104 compared to the average UK price of £220." According to Treatment Abroad, last year 43 per cent of medical tourists from the UK had dental treatment, 29 per cent cosmetic surgery, 18 per cent for other operations such as hip replacements, and 10 per cent for fertility treatment.
Why do it?
"People are going private because of the problems around affordable dental treatment, NHS waiting times," says Mr Pollard.
"Treatment is also cheaper abroad - even including travel and accommodation costs."
Research carried out by the official International Passenger Survey, which questions UK citizens leaving all airports and ports, shows that in 2004, 25,000 Brits travelled abroad for private health care.
In 2007, this figure had jumped to 100,000.
How risky is it?
"Of 650 people who took part in our Medical Tourist Survey 2007, 97 per cent said they would pay for surgery abroad again and 20 per cent believed they'd saved around £10,000," says Keith.
But what about the rest? "There are no statistics for the numbers of operations that go wrong," says Dr Anthony Halperin, chairman of the national charity The Patients' Association.
"As a dentist, I've done repair work on people who've had botched treatment abroad and it's not uncommon. I've also heard of people who have had other surgery, which has gone horribly wrong."
Dr Lorraine Ishak, clinical director of a leading UK cosmetic surgery group, adds: "We're increasingly seeing more patients who've had a bad experience abroad. Across the industry, 33 per cent of surgeons have seen 'much more' repair work over the past five years, due to cosmetic surgery abroad.
A total of 92 per cent of surgeons surveyed by the British Association Of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) said they're most concerned with the lack of aftercare provided."
Dr Halperin adds: "This lack of aftercare is one of the many reasons why the Patients' Association advises people to think carefully before booking treatment abroad.
You need to consider that often the first time you meet your surgeon is the day of your treatment. There may be a language barrier and minimal access in the event of an emergency.
"The British Medical Association has also highlighted the dangers of flying too soon after major surgery."
Dr Ishak, of Transform Cosmetic Surgery, adds: "We offer a 24-hour telephone support line, as well as a doctor and surgeon on call at all times. Overseas providers aren't able to offer patients this level of care. Standards are often less stringent abroad than in the UK. You need to be able to trust the facilities and your surgeon's skill and qualifications."
What if it goes wrong?
"You have no rights, only the right to legal redress - which means you would have to sue the foreign surgeon or clinic. This is complicated in the UK, let alone abroad," explains Dr Halperin.
"Guarantees often aren't worth the paper they're written on. Usually the small print states that it's void unless you have regular check-ups afterwards.
Most people don't fly back for these routine appointments. Also, no firm will insure you against something going wrong due to the high risks involved."
A spokesperson from the Department of Health adds: "We strongly advise people having surgery abroad to do their research and make sure they're clear about prices, procedures, recovery times and aftercare."
Before you pay up..
If you do want to go abroad, Dr Halperin says...
Check the clinic has a phone number and address, not just a website . Organisations should make it easy for you to contact them.
Check that the surgeon speaks good English.
Ask about recovery times and what happens if there are complications either straight after surgery or after you return to the UK.
Ask for a copy of the surgeon's and the clinic's insurance certificates in English.
Check the clinic is registered with the medical statutory body of that country. For instance, in the UK it's the General Medical Council.