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Health check-ups: Which one is best suited for me?

Posted by Xanit Internacional Xanit Internacional | Posted in Pediatrics | Posted on 21-02-2020

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Any time is good to review our health and start taking charge of it accordingly. A health check-up is the best way to do it, but do you know how many types of check-ups are out there or which would be the right one for you? Today, Dr Raquel Martín, from the Health Check-ups Unit, explains some of the fundamental aspects of the selected exams and screenings.

The importance of health check-ups

The importance of undergoing a health check-up is in detecting, in asymptomatic people, risk factors that allow us to prevent and diagnose health problems early.

Here at Xanit Hospital, we have at patients’ disposition several types of health check-up that differ mainly in how extensive they are and which medical specialties they cover.

For example, a basic check-up at Vithas Xanit consists of a detailed medical history as well as a thorough physical examination, accompanied by basic laboratory analysis and simple radiological tests such as chest radiography and abdominal ultrasound.

Types of health check-ups available at Vithas Xanit International

In our hospital we have three basic types of health check-ups. All of them consist of taking a patient’s medical history, reflecting patient’s risk factors, family history, as well as a thorough physical examination (including measuring blood pressure, weight, height, body mass index, basal oxygen saturation). Besides, each of them consists of different investigations and assessments by different medical specialties:

  1. A) Basic Health Check-up:

– Laboratory analysis: Blood count, biochemical coagulation with renal function, liver function, glucose, lipid profile, ionogram, ferric profile, uric acid, thyroid hormones, urine analysis. Faecal occult blood.

– Radiology: Abdominal and pelvic ultrasound. For women, it also includes mammography or breast echography.

– Cardiology: Electrocardiogram, echocardiogram and ergometry.

– Ophthalmology.

– Gynaecology (women): Includes ultrasound and cytology.

– Urology (male).

  1. B) Premium Check-up

– Laboratory analysis: Blood count, biochemical coagulation with renal function, liver function, glucose, lipid profile, ionogram, ferric profile, uric acid, thyroid hormones, urine analysis. Faecal occult blood.

  • Total and free PSA (male).

– Radiology: Chest CT, abdominal and pelvic ultrasound. For female patients it also includes mammography or breast ultrasound, as well as bone densitometry.

  • Cardiology: Electrocardiogram, echocardiogram and ergometry.
  • Pneumology: Spirometry.
  • Otorhinolaryngology: Revision and audiometry.

– Gynaecology (women): Includes ultrasound and cytology.

– Urology (male).

  1. C) Magnum Check-up

– Laboratory analysis: Blood count, biochemical coagulation with renal function, liver function, glucose, lipid profile, ionogram, ferric profile, uric acid, thyroid hormones, urine analysis. Faecal occult blood.

  • Total and free PSA (male).
  • Tumour markers.
  • Serology hepatitis B and C.

– Radiology: Calcium Score CT, chest CT, abdomen CT, brain MRI, thyroid ultrasound, echo-doppler of supra-aortic trunk For female patients, it also includes mammography or breast echography, as well as densitometry.

  • Cardiology: Electrocardiogram, echocardiogram and ergometry.
  • Pneumology: Spirometry.
  • Otorhinolaryngology: Revision and audiometry.

– Gynaecology (women): Includes ultrasound and cytology.

  • Urology (male).
  • Dermatology: Skin cancer screening, digital dermatoscopic study of moles.

But which one is best suited for me?

In general, our patients can choose from any of the different check-ups according to their wishes and needs, although there are some general recommendations when deciding on the type of check-up:

  • Basic check-up: It is aimed at young patients, asymptomatic, with no family history of particular relevance or cardiovascular risk factors.
  • Premium check-up: Further to those examinations carried out in Basic check-up, Premium also includes chest CT and spirometry, therefore, is of particular interest in smoking patients.
  • Magnum check-up: This type of check-up is particularly useful in patients with a family history of neoplastic disease, or those with cardiovascular risk factors for the diagnosis of silent arteriosclerotic disease.

The time needed to conduct each of the check-ups varies on the type selected, ranging from 2-3 hours (the simplest check-up) or having to stay in the hospital throughout the morning, if you are to be assessed by various specialists or for more complex imagining tests.

The whole process will take place here at Xanit, you will visit different areas within the hospital, mainly outpatient’s clinics and radiology department.

Depending on the type of check-up to be performed, the time may vary until the final results are obtained. Basic check-up results can be available in 48-72 hours, while getting all the results of a Magnum checkup can take up to 7 days.

Once all the results of the various investigation tests are available, a written summary will be given to the patient with further explanation in details by an Internal Medicine Physician who coordinated and oversaw the entire check-up.

In the event that the patient is unable to present to collect the written summary, it can be managed to send the information safely and clearly.

General considerations

Regardless of the type of a health check-up you decide to go for it is essential that you present fasting for the laboratory analysis, further to allowing those radiological tests that require contrast, such as abdominal CT or coronary CT.

Also, it is recommended to wear comfortable clothes and shoes, to facilitate physical examination and to be performed some investigations such as ergometry (stress test).

Ask for more information about which health check suits your needs.

Because prevention is always better than cure.

 

All you need to know about the flu

Posted by Xanit Internacional Xanit Internacional | Posted in Pediatrics | Posted on 15-02-2020

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Family ill with flu at home

The flu season is already upon us like any other year during the winter months. As soon as the cold weather sets in, the circulation of respiratory viruses increases, especially among children. Of all viruses, influenza is particularly relevant because of its high-frequency occurrence, elevated impact on the health of those affected and their families, and the possible complications that it might entail. Today we spoke with Dr Conejo, Head of the Paediatrics Department at Vithas Xanit International Hospital, and we clarified some of the most frequent doubts and uncertainties regarding the flu so common during winter months.

What is the flu?

It is an infection caused by the influenza virus that periodically affects everyone, every year during the cold months, which alternate between the two hemispheres.

What is the flu virus?

It is a virus with great ability to mutate, fundamentally infecting the respiratory system and is transmitted from person to person through the air (coughing, sneezing…), hands or other objects that have become contaminated with the virus with the respiratory secretions or the hands of the infected (doorknobs, railings, toys, etc.).

How many types of viruses are there?

There are basically 2 types of viruses that infect humans: type A and type B. Although the ratio of one to the other changes in each season, in general the most common virus is the influenza A virus.

Within each type, in turn, there are many different subtypes, as it is a virus with great ability to mutate and evolve into new different viruses. Since it is a virus that varies so much annually, it is necessary that get vaccinated each year at the beginning of the flu season.

Thus, the famous influenza A (H1N1) virus that caused the 2009 pandemic was a new variety of A viruses that emerged that year and has since remained as part of the usual viruses that we are exposed to each year.

This is why we should not be alarmed when we talk about “influenza A”, as it is the most common virus, although we all can remember the 2009 pandemic.

Who does the disease affect?

Influenza is a universal infection, capable of affecting everyone, although it mostly infects children under 14 years of age. It makes the paediatric patients the most vulnerable from the flu epidemic and, also, the main transmitters of the disease to other age groups. Besides, up to 20% of hospitalised patients for severe influenza are also children under 14 years of age, the vast majority of times in previously healthy children.

However, most severe cases occur in people over 65 years of age or those with some risk factors (lung disease, heart disease, etc.).

What are the symptoms of the flu? How is it different from a normal cold?

In many cases, the symptoms of influenza and the common cold are indistinguishable, as most influenza syndromes are mild in children.

In general, the main symptom of influenza is elevated fever over 39º C), which is usually accompanied by muscle aches and headaches. These symptoms generate great general malaise and a major feeling of weakness, which is often a source of concern on behalf of child’s parents (the child is usually very down, with a loss of appetite or desire to play, etc.). It is usually accompanied by cough, phlegm, sore throat, nasal congestion and sneezing, although in general, the symptoms are less intense than in common cold. Most often, symptoms resolve themselves within 5-8 days, although coughing and tiredness can last for several weeks.

On the other side, the symptoms of common cold and other viral infections usually start progressively over several days (first cough and phlegm and then fever or the rest of the symptoms may appear), the fever is usually less intense, although it can also be high, and is usually accompanied by less affectation of the general condition and less headache. In the case of common cold, the predominant symptoms are the affectation of the upper respiratory tract, with more phlegm, nasal congestion and more intense cough. Finally, the duration of the fever is usually shorter in these cases, between 3 and 5 days most of the time, although the rest of the symptoms (cough, phlegm…) can take up to 2-3 weeks to completely disappear and some infections usually overlap with others.

How is the flu treated?

As it is a viral infection, and although some antivirals are available that could be used in very specific cases, there is no curative treatment capable of shortening the duration of symptoms that can be applied to the general population. As the popular saying goes, the flu “lasts 7 days without treatment and a week with treatment.”

The only thing we can do is control the symptoms so that the patient is as comfortable as possible for the duration of the infection. If there is fever or discomfort, the usual painkillers (paracetamol, ibuprofen) can be used, avoiding the use of aspirin or influenza compounds containing it. It is also important to maintain good hydration and avoid other toxic irritating agents, such as tobacco smoke. It is not recommended to force food intake. It is recommended to rest at home, at least up to 24 hours after fever stops.

For paediatric patients, it is not recommended to use anti-catarrhal drugs, anti-cough medication, mucolytics, influenza compounds, anti congestive drugs, antihistamines, vitamins, etc., since their effectiveness is not proven and can be associated with adverse effects. Antibiotics have no beneficial effect and should be avoided in the absence of complications.

When is a consultation with the paediatrician recommended?

In the vast majority of cases, the flu behaves like a mild illness, from which the child will eventually recover smoothly. However, you should consult your paediatrician if:

  • The fever is very high and persistent.
  • The child is very irritable or sleepy.
  • The child looks bad or has shortness of breath.
  • If the child has a rash on the skin.

How can it be prevented?

The flu is very contagious and it is impossible to completely avoid infection in epidemic times. However, some means may minimise the risk of infection. General hygiene measures focusing on proper hand hygiene, have been shown to reduce transmission of the virus partially and are universally recommended, as are other measures such as the use of disposable handkerchiefs, covering the mouth with the inside of the elbow rather than by hand when coughing or sneezing or using masks in certain environments.

The most effective measure we have today to prevent serious cases is the influenza vaccine. Although it does not have a 100% efficacy (no vaccine has it), it has been useful to avoid up to 60% of severe cases, depending on the degree of concordance between the viruses included in the vaccine each year and the viruses that eventually circulate in each season.

The Vaccine Advisory Committee of the Spanish Association of Paediatrics recommends influenza vaccination in the following cases:

  • Risk groups: children from 6 months of age and adolescents in certain situations or those with basic diseases (diabetes, asthma, etc.).
  • Healthy children from 6 months of age, adolescents and healthy adults living together with patients at risk.
  • Members of the family with infants younger than 6 months of age and with risk factors, since the infants cannot receive the flu vaccine.
  • Pregnant women, regardless of the weeks of gestation.
  • All healthcare professionals.

Vaccination of children without risk factors (universal vaccination) can also be assessed, as it is common in many developed countries (United Kingdom, USA). USA, Australia, etc.).

But also to be vaccinated are:

  • People over 65 years of age or those of any age who have long-term health problems.

Who should not be vaccinated?

  • People who have had a severe allergic reaction to previous vaccination with a flu vaccine.
  • Children under 6 months.
  • If a person has an acute illness with a high fever, we should wait until the underlying condition is resolved first.

 

Love yourself! A healthy diet that takes care of your heart

Posted by Xanit Internacional Xanit Internacional | Posted in cardiology with heart | Posted on 03-02-2020

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healthy-diet

The National Institute of Statistics indicates that the most frequent causes of death in Spain are ischemic heart disease or heart failure. Good prevention is key to avoiding such casualties. Prevention starts with the food we eat daily. Taking care of what we eat, combined with series of good habits such as walking 20 minutes a day, sleeping for 8 hours and avoiding toxic substances such as alcohol or smoking are the key to taking care of our heart.

So, ready to start your heart-healthy diet?

Dr Gómez Doblas, Head of the Cardiology Department at Vithas Xanit International Hospital, offers us today a series of advice to get started.

First, we should know who are the groups with the high risk of cardiovascular diseases: we are talking about people with a family history of premature cardiovascular disease or family dyslipidaemia, or patients with a significant risk factor — smokers, people with diabetes, high blood pressure or cholesterol. In patients with cardiovascular risk factors mentioned above, a health check is recommended every 5 years, and in general men from the age of 40 and women from the age of 50.

Back to the pieces of advice related to diet, we should mention that it is remarkable that consuming raw foods always generates a more beneficial effect on health than when cooking them. Mainly due to eliminating or lowering vitamins in contact with heat. Examples? Cooking tomatoes for just two minutes decreases their vitamin C content by 10%. On the contrary, some vegetables offer greater health benefits when cooked. In this group are carrots, asparagus and even tomatoes. Its cooking makes our bodies benefit more easily from some of their protective antioxidants, although in some case we lose some of their vitamins.

 

Mediterranean diet: now and always

Now we are talking about the worldwide known fact, although it is not always put into practice. Who has not heard of the Mediterranean diet? An adequate proportion of olive oil, legumes, unsalted nuts, fruit and bluefish is synonymous with good cardiovascular health.

In contrast, the abuse of animal fats, especially trans fats, and quick-release sugars, increases the incidence of coronary heart disease by up to 23%.

 

The list of the non-purchase

If we choose a practical approach, it is not difficult to list those foods that harm your cardiovascular health. The best known is salt, although more important are those that contain trans fatty acids, which we can define as fats with a special conformation derived from the realization of some processes, such as the refining of vegetable or fish oils or the heating of oils at high temperatures, as occurs during frying.

The natural source of trans fats comes from ruminant animals, such as cow, sheep or goat, as the rumen bacteria of these animals perform partial hydrogenation of part of the fatty acids, which are found in the leaves, stems and roots they eat, as well as feed content.

These trans fatty acids are absorbed and incorporated into the muscles and milk of animals and, for this reason, are found in beef, lamb and kid meat, as well as whole milk. In any case, the foods that contain trans fats in greater quantity are those baked such as biscuits, industrial pastries, precooked foods, snacks and fried foods such as chips, corn, and other snacks, along with ice cream, creams and smoothies.

The first effect of trans fatty acids is to increase total cholesterol levels, especially LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol), while lowering HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) and increasing triglycerides. Besides, its consumption generates inflammation at the level of the cells of the endothelium, which is the innermost layer of the arteries and which is in close contact with the circulating blood. Inflammatory factors play an important role in the development of diabetes, atherosclerosis, plaque rupture and sudden cardiac death.

And the chocolate?

As a curious fact, it is noteworthy that theine or caffeine are not harmful at low doses and that certain studies have shown that dark chocolate is beneficial at cardiovascular level. Spices can also be consumed without problem, as long as they do not incorporate salt.

This year is the year! Advice on healthy 2020

Posted by Xanit Internacional Xanit Internacional | Posted in Xanit salud | Posted on 03-02-2020

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New Year, same old resolutions. If you are one of those who want to start the new year by taking care of yourself, we would like you to take note of some pieces of advice so that, this year, you can make it happen.

 

A real motivation

The fact that we are starting a new year should not be a reason for us to eat more or less healthily, just like we should not start our diet only on Mondays. If you were already warned by a doctor of your mild hypertension, overweight, or any other indication whereby prevention is the key rather than cure, you should be even more aware of the health benefits of watching your diet. Health is not sold in the pharmacy and your body is the only one you will have in this lifetime, so taking care of yourself has to be your number 1 priority.

 

Plan and conquer

A good plan is crucial. Every good project starts with planning, and your health deserves a few minutes spent writing down your aims and plan of action. A list of goals and benefits will help you on your way to a healthier lifestyle. And do it before January the 1st, with particular dates on the mind and write it down in a document that is easy to consult later, whether you diary which you always have on you, in your mobile phone or stick it on your fridge door.

 

Marking a realistic goal

Take advantage of the SMART method, to set real and consistent goals. ‘S’ is for simple, ‘M’ for measurable, ‘A’ of achievable, ‘R’ of realistic and ‘T’ of time. For example, stop eating fried foods, sweets and pastries, walk 20 minutes a day and weigh yourself every 15 days, taking note of your progress.

 

Healthy diet

Food is key to our healthy lifestyle. Start the day with regular healthy breakfast, eat more vegetables, fruits and legumes, and try to drink alcohol as little as possible. Better to drink water than soft drinks and use sweeteners instead of sugar. And should you require, Vithas Xanit’s Endocrinology and Nutrition Department will help you plan this goal better.

 

A health check-up to rule out ailments

It sounds serious, although, at a certain age, it is always better to prevent it rather than having to cure it. We are talking about specific cases such as in women aged 45 and over (breast cancer incidences) or in men aged 50 and over (prostate problems), which by all means are not trivial. A health check-up will help you to concentrate, professionally and expertly, on those goals fundamental to achieving your healthy lifestyle for this prosperous 2020. As always, at Vithas Xanit we are here for you, whatever needs you might have.