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Expat Investor : March 2008
The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that more than 180 million people worldwide have diabetes. This number is likely to more than double by 2030. In the UK there are about 2 million people who are known to have diabetes and another 750,000 people who have the condition but don't know it. Diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin, or, alternatively, when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces. Insulin is a hormone that HEALTH INSURANCE expatinvestor.com 18 EXPAT INVESTOR March 2008 diabetes to develop but it may be triggered by a virus or other autoimmune diseases, or may be due to inheriting certain genes. Type 1 diabetes is most common in people under the age of 30, although it can develop at any age. It can be detected with a blood test to measure the level of glucose in the blood. At present there is no cure for type 1 diabetes; however it can be controlled by giving the body insulin through an injection. This allows glucose to be absorbed into cells and converted into energy, stopping it from building up in the blood. Type 2 diabetes often has no symptoms and is the result of the body's ineffective use of insulin. It can usually be controlled with diet, exercise or medicines alone. But if it is poorly controlled you have an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, nerve damage and blindness. Ninety per cent of people with diabetes around the world have Type 2. It is largely the result of excess body weight and physical inactivity. Until recently, this type of diabetes was seen only in adults but it is now also occurring in obese children. In addition to controlling blood sugar, lifestyle is a key part of ensuring that diabetes has the minimum impact on your health. A healthy diet is essential for people with both types of diabetes. So- called 'diabetic foods' aren't necessary for a healthy diet; you just need to watch what you eat. This is no different to the normal, balanced diet that's recommended for good health among the general population -- low in saturated fat, sugar, salt, high in fibre, vegetables and fruit. Likewise, physical activity promotes healthier circulation and helps maintain a healthy weight. Health issues in your neck of the woods Causes and effects of diabetes The climate in India consists of three seasons, the hot, the wet (monsoon) and the cool. The cooler period is between November and February and is the most pleasant. The hot season starts in February and peaks in June, and in central India temperatures of 45 degrees centigrade and above are common. The monsoon season tends to start at the end of May or the beginning of June, with electrical storms, high humidity and short rainstorms and dust storms. There are two monsoon winds, the southwest and the northeast, the strongest of these being the southwest. The failure of Ganges river, as they can be full of harmful bacteria and parasites which could enter the body through the feet or skin. Across India there are large numbers of English-speaking doctors and dentists. However, it is important to recognise that the medical facilities in the major cities, such as New Delhi and Mumbai, are of a significantly higher standard than those in more rural areas of India, and that the quality of medical attention also tends to diminish the farther away you are from urban areas. This is confirmed by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, who states, "Local medical facilities are not comparable to those in the UK, especially in more remote areas." Living Abroad states that "the nursing staffs are usually poor. In fact, most patients are cared for by their families, friends and colleagues." In some cases they might have to provide the patient's food and purchase medication for them (should they need it) from external sources. With this in mind, it's worth noting that there are regular these winds to bring sufficient rain causes famine and drought in central India. Many of the illnesses and diseases found in India are spread by contaminated food and water. Therefore, you must avoid drinking the water, including ice, from any location in the country. All drinking water should be boiled for at least ten minutes or filtered, and it would be wise to avoid all water that you yourself did not boil or treat. Bottled water is readily available, but you must ensure you check that the seal has not been broken and avoid street vendors. It is also unsafe to swim in natural water sources such as the AXA PPP Healthcare profiles India. In this regular column on medical conditions, Torben Staehr, Medical Director, BUPA Copenhagen, explains diabetes. Fast Facts 33011 Fast Facts 33010 International Private Healthcare Insurer of the Year | Private Healthcare News Awards 2007 Best International PMI Provider | Cover Excellence Awards 2007 InterGlobal is a trading name of InterGlobal Limited which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority in the United Kingdom IGAD03/0308 With customers in over 160 countries and nine offices worldwide, we're ready to do business with you. T +44 (0)1252 745900 F +44 (0)1252 745920 E firstname.lastname@example.org W www.interglobalpmi.com Innovations in International Private Medical Insurance Wherever you are... ...be in safe hands Award-winning international private medical insurance for you and your family. shortages of medical supplies, but most drugs and medicines can be obtained from pharmacies in the major cities (such as Mumbai and Bangalore), as there are many pharmacies. However, the same cannot be said for more rural and remote areas, as they are practically non-existent. Therefore, it would be advisable that travellers take a supply of any medications that may be required. In addition, you may also wish to take a proactive approach and find a local doctor and identify a good hospital for emergency treatment as soon as you arrive and before you have a need to use them. You may also want to consider private medical care, which is readily available in India and is of a much higher standard than public care. Recently, a number of hospital chains have been created offering high quality medical care, although these are aimed at the wealthy and are quite costly. While it's worth knowing that some private clinics can't handle serious emergencies, they are mostly well staffed and provide clean facilities and modern equipment and can undertake most common procedures. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office strongly recommends travellers to "obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling. You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for all the activities you want to undertake." Another key factor to consider is vaccination requirements. Expatriates should carry an international certificate of vaccination with them as this is helpful upon entry into India and for personal knowledge. Visit www.netdoctor.co.uk to research the recommended vaccinations for travelling to India. A certification of vaccination for yellow fever will be required if you are travelling from an infected area. There is also a risk of malaria and dengue fever so appropriate preventative medicines and mosquito repellent will need to be used. Also, expatriates planning to stay in the country for more than 12 months are normally subjected to a health examination which includes an HIV test. Any individual who tests HIV positive or refuses to take the test may face deportation. regulates blood sugar. Hyperglycaemia, or raised blood sugar, is a common effect of uncontrolled diabetes and over time leads to serious damage to many of the body's systems, especially the nerves and blood vessels. There are two types of diabetes, type 1 and type 2. Type 1 diabetes is the rarer form and only takes a few weeks to develop, with initial symptoms such as increased production of urine, excessive thirst, tiredness, loss of weight, and blurred vision. No one knows exactly what causes type 1
January February 2008