A monthly round-up of expatriate news, provided by Expatriate Healthcare
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Welcome to this edition of Expat News

Country Feature - SPAIN

Each month, in association with 'Know Before You Go', we will provide you with information on a particular country or region. This month we focus on Spain

"Spain is one of the most popular destinations when choosing a new home abroad. With an estimated 800,000 expats living in the Mediterranean country, it has proved to be an attractive home offering a short flight time from other EU destinations, warmer climates and an extensive expat community . . ."

For more country information click here

This information has been provided by FCO Travel Advice

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

Monthly round-up: June 2011

In June, there were many reports suggesting that losing weight is an increasing concern for many. Graeme Hilditch provided a variety of exercise regimes to help people shed a few pounds and researchers found smokers are less likely to suffer from obesity.

Further stories relating to cigarettes included a report showing plainer packets would encourage people to quit the habit and data revealing an increased risk of prostate cancer recurrence for smokers.

People want to go to exotic locations, too. Visits to Mombasa's old town, Turkey in all seasons and Kenya's beaches were promoted.

Property investors were also encouraged to look into real estate in Brazil and Canada.

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

Tea 'could prevent dental decay'

International health insurance customers might be interested to learn in an alternative method of preventing tooth decay. According to Dr Carrie Ruxton, a member of the Tea Advisory Panel, it has been known for decades that tea has antibacterial properties. However, the idea has only recently been assessed scientifically. Studies reported by the panel found that compounds in tea, known as flavonoids, are able to disrupt the bacteria in the mouth that cause dental decay.

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Mental stimulation 'crucial' for older individuals

People living overseas who do not wish to make a claim on their expat health insurance policy could be wise to undertake regular mental stimulation activities. Dianne Bown-Wilson, chief executive of In My Prime, has told how exercising the brain can be the key to fulfilment in later life. She recommended enjoying puzzles such as crosswords and Sudoku or playing bridge as ideal ways to pass the time and to give the mind a workout.

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Stronger sunscreen advised

Expatriate health insurance customers might want to consider purchasing a stronger sunscreen. While the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) states that SPF15 is sufficient if applied adequately, it has been suggested that too many people do not use enough of the cream for this to protect them. The Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin noted that many people have been found to be applying between 0.4 and 1.5mg/cm squared, instead of the standard recommendation of 2mg/cm squared.

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Low volume hospitals 'can be riskier'

Overseas health insurance customers might be interested to learn that certain hospitals can be riskier than others for patients undergoing elective total hip or total knee arthroplasty. Research published in Arthritis & Rheumatism, a peer-reviewed journal of the American College of Rheumatology, found that hospitals with low surgical volumes had a higher risk of patients developing venous thromboembolism and even mortality after treatment. Expatriate health insurance customers, however, should be safe in the knowledge that they will have access to some of the best healthcare in their region.

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Unique locations 'bump up property prices'

Expatriates might be interested to learn that the most expensive property locations in Europe have been identified by one estate agent. Engel & Volkers published its global ranking list this month, revealing that a "unique location and an extreme lack of availability" tends to drive prices upwards. Monaco, Sardinia and London were identified as offering the most expensive properties in the region.

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Exercise 'important for elderly'

Expatriate health insurance customers who are wondering how to keep fit in their old age might be interested to learn that walking has been recommended. Alison Wyndham, founder of the Wyndham Centres, said that walking is "probably the best exercise of all" for older people. She explained: "If you have shoulder problems, you can bring in gentle neck and should exercises and go through the motions of each movement.

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Olive oil 'may lower stroke risk'

International health insurance patients may be interested to learn that consuming olive oil could lower the risk of stroke. Research published in the medical journal Neurology, found that people aged 65 and above were less likely to experience a stroke if they consumed the oil. The team looked at 7,625 people in the French cities of Bordeaux, Dijon and Montpellier and split them into groups who consumed no olive oil, a moderate about of oil or those who used it intensively.

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Switzerland 'all about the experience'

Expatriates with international medical insurance may be some of the people that enjoy the experience of visiting Switzerland, despite high prices in the country. "It's a very aspirational travel destination," said Urs Eberhand, executive vice-president of markets and meetings for Switzerland Tourism. Speaking at a panel session at City Fair 2011, an event at which tourism suppliers contact operators and other visitor bodies, Mr Eberhand pointed out that the Swiss franc is very high compared with the euro or sterling.

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Tax 'unlikely to deter expats'

Expatriates are unlikely to be deterred from purchasing a second property in France by recent tax changes. This is the view of Stuart Law, chief executive of Assetz International, who told Overseas Property Professional that the impact is likely to be "minimal".

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Regular tests 'can prolong eyesight'

Individuals with expatriate medical insurance should take proactive steps to minimise the risk of requiring eye operations as they get older. Poor eyesight is common among the elderly, but director of the Eyecare Trust Rosie Gavzey explained it is "not an inevitable consequence of aging". She emphasised the importance of having regular eye tests, noting these are invaluable for locating glaucoma, cataracts or macular degeneration at an early stage.

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