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Welcome to this edition of Expat News

Expatriate Healthcare update the news everyday on their website. Here's a round up of the top stories from last month . . .

Monthly round-up: December 2011

In December, there were some articles dealing with the health impact of the holiday period. People were advised to start exercising before the festivities began, with seasonal workouts such as building a snowman, hand-delivering cards and dancing recommended by experts.

Physical activity was also said to bring health benefits to pregnant women, with a midwife suggesting walking and swimming and another professional noting expecting females can be more susceptible to pain in the joints and back during exercise.

Stories suggested people should change their lifestyle to minimise their likelihood of suffering from heart disease, while a moderate consumption of alcohol was associated with good cardiac health.

Other individuals discussed the benefits, investment opportunities and negative aspects of purchasing properties in Italy, Germany, South Africa, France and Brazil, while expat communities in Spain were described as intense.

Further research revealed a growth in the number of foreigners buying Spanish real estate, with Tenerife and Malaga highlighted as particularly good locations.

The country was also said to operate to different hours than other nations, with most activities taking place in the evening.

Read on to catch up on other health news from around the world . . .

'Consider currency fluctuations' when expatriating

Expat insurance customers ought to think about currency fluctuations among other things to consider when relocating abroad. A Place in the Sun Magazine editor Liz Rowlinson said these are "hugely" important. For instance, many people have repatriated back from France, Spain or other eurozone countries as economic trends have discouraged them from purchasing real estate in these nations, the expert claimed.

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Study finds early warning sign of Alzheimer's disease

Expatriate international health insurance policyholders may be able to discover if they are at risk of developing Alzheimer's disease by having a brain scan. A study published in the most recent online issue of Neurology, the American Academy of Neurology's medical journal, found the likelihood of suffering from this condition is linked to thinner regions in the brain's cortex. This can be even determined in individuals who do not appear to be suffering from any current memory problems, the researchers found.

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Oral health 'should not ruin Christmas'

Expatriates may wish to use international health insurance policies to ensure their teeth are strong and oral hygiene is good in the seasonal period. British Dental Health Foundation chief executive Dr Nigel Carter noted many dentists will take some time off during the run-up to the holidays, which can make it difficult to resolve any problems. He claimed the "last thing" individuals want to happen on Christmas Day is for toothache to spoil the festivities, especially if it is affecting a cavity they were already aware of.

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Research performed into mindfulness exercises and arthritis

Expatriates receiving help for arthritis or rheumatoid joint disease under international health insurance policies may wish to focus on experiencing what is going on at the present moment. A small study published in the Annals of Rheumatic Disease found doing these so-called "mindfulness exercises" reduced feelings of fatigue and stress associated with this ailment. In the research, which involved an analysis of 73 individuals with painful joint conditions aged between 20 and 70, participants were randomly split into two groups.

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'Prepare' before relocating abroad

There are many things to consider when relocating abroad, an expert has said. Senior move manager at Crown Relocations Kimberly Millhouse recommended people thinking about becoming expatriates get every piece of paperwork in order before embarking. This is "crucial" in order to avoid major issues occurring in the last minutes before the move, she declared.

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'Many ways' to minimise hangovers

Expat health insurance customers may be tempted to overindulge during the holiday season. However, chief executive of the Proprietary Association of Great Britain Shelia Kelly has said there are "several things" than can alleviate any hangovers felt the next day. She suggested resting if possible, as alcohol can cause poor-quality sleep and despite several hours of slumber, people often feel just as tired as they did before they retired for the night.

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Parents 'should not use sweets as treats'

Expatriates with private international health insurance policies may wish to ensure their children are eating healthily. According to Zoe Harcombe, nutritionist and author of Stop Counting Calories & Start Losing Weight: The Harcombe Diet, parents must view giving their children junk foods and sugary sweets in the same light as they would handing them heart disease, cancer, obesity, diabetes and the other illnesses linked to poor eating choices. Currently, adults view providing youngsters with treats and chocolates as "being nice to them", although it sends people into a "manic half an hour", followed by a two-hour crash and an urge for more sugar, she explained.

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'Many health benefits' to exercising when pregnant

Pregnant expatriate international health insurance policyholders may want to carry on exercising. This has "many health benefits" for both mother and child, said Jo Taylor, who is a midwife for baby charity Tommy's. Women who did not generally work out before they were expecting may wish to begin by engaging in physical activity for 15 minutes three times a week, the healthcare professional claimed.

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Sales of Spanish property to foreigners experiences growth

Expatriates with international travel insurance could be some of the people behind the dramatic growth seen in the number of Spanish property sales made to overseas buyers. The amount of these purchases taking place increased by 24.9 per cent in the third quarter of 2011 when compared to the same period last year, data from the nation's Ministry of Public Transactions revealed. Government statistics indicate the most popular location for foreign members of the public to buy property in Spain is Alicante, with 2,097 house purchases during the third quarter of the year.

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