Affordable Dental

What’s been brewing with Health Vantis this year you ask?  We have been cooking up new locations to our facility list and not just medical facilities.  We have also located very affordable dental practices for you!  

Dental coverage and treatment are expensive and not covered by your provincial health care.  Because of this, many people make routine check ups secondary on their list of priorities.  When we neglect our teeth, we are essentially neglecting our health.  Poor oral hygiene doesn’t just affect your teeth.  It can also increase your chances of heart disease, stroke, respiratory conditions, diabetes and in some cases dementia.  It may lead to things as small as cavities all the way up to more serious issues that require major surgery.

Just like any medical condition, early detection and treatment will help to ensure a better outcome.  It is suggested that you see your dentist every 6 months for routine cleanings.  This will help to prevent gum disease or other oral health issues.   If you notice signs or symptoms such as these listed below, please be sure to contact a dentist for an evaluation:

Symptoms

⁃Tender, red or swollen gums

⁃Gums that bleed when you brush or floss

⁃Appearance that your gums are pulling away from your teeth

⁃A permanent tooth is loose

⁃Sensitivity to hot or cold

⁃Persistent or unusual taste in your mouth or bad breath

⁃Difficulty swallowing

⁃Mouth sores or ulcers that are not healing

⁃Changes in the way your top and bottom teeth align with each other

There is that saying ‘You only get one chance to make a good impression’ and a beautiful smile is usually associated with that.  Attending to your teeth not only looks great but also provides for a healthier you.  If you are in need of dental treatment or repair, give us a call to see how we might be able to connect you to an affordable dental solution.

 

Health Vantis

www.healthvantis.ca

877-344-3544

info@healthvantis.com

5 Cool Apps Every Snowbird Should Use

5 Cool Apps That Every Snowbird Should Use

Summer has wound down and fall is here, which means the snowbirds are preparing to head south for the winter.  There are so many handy tools out there for them to utilize, however, we found some cool apps that every snowbird should use!

Canadian Snowbirds US Stay Counter 

Canadian Snowbirds US Stay Counter helps track the number of days you are staying in the US.  This is important to avoid tax consequences.  It also offers other services such as US currency, US real estate, Snowbird FM, Tax & Legal Services, & Check your I-94.  The app was designed by Canadian Gerry Scott, who is an experienced wealth management financial planner and avid snowbird himself.  Knowing the tax laws are incredibly important if you live in 2 different countries.  Try it out to help you track your days.  

AARP Now Mobile App 

AARP Now Mobile App keeps you connected with daily news stories, offers the ability to explore events happening close by and provides member-only benefits and discounts.  Offers are added monthly and you can access them from wherever you are.  You can set up notification reminders for upcoming events or deals you’ve saved.  AARP also offers 2 other apps you should check out: AARP Publications Tablet App and AARP Member Advantages App.  

Libby by OverDrive

Libby by OverDrive is basically the local library right on your device.  If you are a member of a local library, you can check out books or audiobooks digitally for FREE from the touch of your fingers.  No driving to the library or worrying about getting back to return the items.  Books automatically go back to the queue after the set time, however, you have the ability to renew it, as long as it’s prior to the due date.  For popular books, you can put your name on a waiting list and it will send a notification to your email when it’s available.  It’s very user-friendly and there are literally 1000’s of books to choose from.  

Waze 

Waze is a really cool app that assists in your commute or drive.  It connects other drivers to one another to help improve the quality of everyone’s daily driving while giving driving directions. Waze gives you the best route to drive and if there is a lot of traffic, construction, accident or other traffic hazards, it will offer alternate routes so you don’t get stuck in the traffic.  It clues you into when there are police officers in the area, stalled cars and even which gas station has the cheapest gas. 

Simply Declare

Simply Declare manages your travel receipts and gives you an itemized list with the information you need to fill out your declarations forms upon returning home.  It lets you know in real time currency if you have reached or exceeded your limits.  Simply Declare allows you to take pictures of your receipts so they are all stored in one spot.  It has a notepad, quick currency converter and the ability to itemize lists the way you want.  

No matter where you travel this winter, have a safe, relaxing holiday!

Health Vantis

www.healthvantis.ca

877-344-3544

info@healthvantis.com

How Many People in Canada Travel for Medical Care?

How Many People In Canada Travel For Medical Care

The Fraser Institute conducts surveys on an annual basis for specialists.  The specialists are asked to provide data on the care their patients receive.  This research always produces an estimation of how long our wait times are but another area they also gain insights into are how many people in Canada travel for medical care outside of our borders.

The question asked on the survey is: ‘Approximately what percentage of your patients received non-emergency medical treatment in the past 12 months outside of Canada’. (1)  The number reported was 63,459 for 2017.  This survey is only sent to doctors in 12 specialties, those which have been documented to have the longest wait times.  If all specialties are not surveyed, that could mean, perhaps, that there are more than 63,459 Canadians leaving for medical care.

Reasons?

What were the reported reasons someone might travel for medical care? (*all reasons listed provided by Fraser Institute survey results)

⁃The inability to get quality care in a timely manner

⁃They have been sent out of the country by the public system due to lack of available resources or the procedure or equipment was not provided in their home jurisdiction

⁃ Concerns about quality and are seeking more advanced health care facilities, state of the art medical technologies or better outcomes

⁃To avoid some of the adverse medical consequences of waiting for care.  Those could include worsening of their condition, poorer outcomes following treatment, disability or death.

⁃To avoid a delay and make a quicker return to normal life.  

Canadians may leave the country for medical treatment that is not reported for this survey’s purpose.  Those could include dental care or cosmetic surgery.  These 2 are considered elective and not covered by the public health care system.  Services like these can also be very expensive in Canada, prompting individuals to look outside of the Canadian borders for cheaper prices.

Medical travel has been around for centuries.  It has gained increasing popularity in the US due to the cost of healthcare businesses face.  While health care is expensive in the US, there are many facilities that can provide affordable prices.  More and more surgical centers are following this trend to be competitive and lie right across the border.  There are no statistics out there to indicate where most Canadians travel for medical care, however, the US has been known to be the most popular destination due to its close proximity.

 

Health Vantis

www.healthvantis.ca

877-344-3544

info@healthvantis.com

 

  1.  https://www.fraserinstitute.org/sites/default/files/leaving-canada-for-medical-care-2017.pdf

October Newsletter

Main Story

October is Stroke Awareness Month.  This is especially important to us because our very own Leanna Christie, Director and Owner of Health Vantis, has had personal experience with having a stroke.  Read below to see her story.

Leanna’s story:

At age 43, I had a stroke. To be more exact, the MRI showed that it happened three times. The scans reflect three different age lighter areas of my brain that were deprived of oxygen at different times because of blood clots. 

How does that happen at this age? To be honest, it happens more often that we think. A third of strokes that happen between ages 18-45 are considered cryptogenic – the cause is not known. My story is just one of many. On May 2nd, as I was sitting in a meeting,  I had one of my usual migraines that started with a visual aura, or a bright, squiggly lines in the sides of my vision. It grew into a headache, again, quite similar to migraines I had in the past, during which it is hard to read or look at any screens. In addition, this one brought a difficulty in focusing.  

A day later I noticed a slight inability to see to my left. I ran over a traffic cone when backing out of a gas station. I then ran very close to the curb on a right turn. Although not the best driver in the world, I am a cautious one and was a bit alarmed. I also noticed when using my phone to text that I got the letters to the left wrong at times. I was also incredibly tired and had a hard time focusing. 

After sharing the vision issues with a friend of mine, she convinced me to go see a doctor. I was able to see my family doctor quite quickly, on May 4th. After performing a basic vision test that revealed nothing, she sent me for a CT scan. I didn’t think much of all of it, and thought that the tiredness I was also experiencing was just part of getting old. On May 15th, I had a CT scan done. Next day I got a call in the morning from both my physician and the neurology clinic, and things started to unravel. 

I am 5’7” and weight about 130 pounds with no history of strokes in the family. I exercise regularly and eat a balanced diet. Other than having my son, I have not been to a hospital. A stroke sure sounded like something that happens when you are over 65 or not taking care of yourself.

To fast-forward the story, the 5 days I was in the hospital and an extensive workup that followed, the reasons for my stroke still remain unclear. There are certain antibodies in my blood that are indicative of an autoimmune disease that makes my blood clot. Other symptoms speak for this as well. The positive tests do not meet the definite diagnostics requirements and therefore my diagnosis is unclear. While it is understandable to err on the side of caution, the fact that it is not 100% certain keeps me awake at night sometimes.  I was put on blood thinners, as recommended in the case of someone with this autoimmune disease.

It can be unsettling at times to think of what may occur in the future. I do realize how incredibly lucky I am to have no major impact and that my family doctor listened, didn’t brush off my symptoms and requested further investigation.  Although I struggled for about a year with fatigue and difficulties focusing, things are getting a lot better now. If a lesson is to be learned from my story I would say it is that you have to listen and trust yourself and your body.  Pay attention and know when to seek medical help.

 

Know The Warning Signs and Additional Statistics About Stroke

Infographic courtesy of the American Heart Association

 

Breast Cancer: What’s New

Research has shown that the death rate among women with breast cancer has decreased significantly each year since 1993.  This is due all in part to better research and treatments now available.

Chemotherapy, a drug treatment that has many adverse side effects, is not always the first choice of treatment anymore.  Many physicians are opting to use other treatments that have fewer side effects with better results.  Here’s a look at a couple of new and exciting treatments being used in breast cancer patients:

No Chemotherapy for Early Stage Breast Cancer

In June of this year, it was announced that women with a particular type of early-stage breast cancer could forgo chemotherapy and be treated with just hormones and/or surgery.  The study, which was the largest breast cancer treatment trial ever, showed that 70% of women may avoid chemotherapy.  

In women over the age of 50 that have HR-Positive, HER2-Negative, node-negative cancer and a score of up to 25, chemotherapy can be avoided.  There are 85% of women in this age category that fall into this group.  In women under the age of 50 with the same type but score of 0-15, they can also forgo chemotherapy.  Forty percent of women in this age range fall within this group.  

Ribociclib (Kisqail)

Ribociclib blocks or interferes with substances that play a role in cancer cell progression.  It targets the proteins in cancer cells and stops them from growing. 

In March of 2017, Ribociclib (Kisqali) was approved by the U.S. FDA to treat postmenopausal women with HR-Positive, HER2-Negative advanced or metastatic breast cancer.  Since that time, they have recently expanded the treatment, July 2018, for the approval of Ribociclib to be used for the treatment of advanced HR-Positive, HER2-Negative cancer in women who haven’t yet reached menopause.  This would be in conjunction with another type of hormone therapy called an aromatase inhibitor.  The FDA also expanded Ribociclib’s approval for use in postmenopausal women with Fulvestrant (Faslodex), a different type of hormone therapy.

Immunotherapy

When someone develops cancer, the immune system doesn’t recognize the cancer cells as foreign (bad) cells, thus, it doesn’t know how to attack them. They trick our immune system into thinking they are not harmful.  Scientists and researchers have come a long way in learning how to get the immune system to recognize they are bad cells through Immunotherapy and attack them. 

How immunotherapy works is that T-cells (your immune systems white blood cells) are removed from the tumor.  The researchers determine which ones are fighting the growth the most.  Scientists then re-engineer the genes in those cells making them stronger in order to recognize malignancies and return them to your system.  The thought is that the immune system now recognizes these as foreign cells and starts fighting them off just like it would a common cold or virus.  

Immunotherapy has seen major breakthroughs in the past year.  Approval of 2 CAR-T treatments has paved the way for cancer attacking therapies.  All cancers contain mutations so techniques could potentially be applied to any kind of tumor or cancer, not just breast cancer.  It has been shown to shrink hard to treat tumors in colon and cervical cancers as well, however, it is still in the infancy stages and researchers have a long way to go.

Conclusion

So, very exciting break throughs for breast cancer patients. If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with cancer and would like to explore these options, please contact us! Our cancer facilities are doing these newer, advanced techniques and treat each cancer as unique to provide the best outcome for you.

World Mental Health Day Oct 10, 2018

Today is World Mental Health Day.  Worldwide statistics say that 1 in 4 adults and 1 in 10 children experience mental health issues.  In Canada, 1 out of 5 Canadians experience mental health challenges.  One in 5 of those are children, 1 in 10 will have chronic issues, however, only 1 in 3 will actually seek out treatment.

Mental health problems make up 70% of disability costs in the workplace.  According to the Mental Health Commission, this can cost the Canadian economy upwards of $50 billion dollars. Many companies do not provide access to mental health services and create an unapproachable environment to discuss mental health.  This can lead to absenteeism, lack of productivity and high costs for the employer.

Mental health has been a squeaky wheel within the health care system in Canada for a long time.  Under the current guidelines for mental health, many services do not meet the eligibility requirement of what is deemed ‘medically necessary’ creating a gap.  Most psychological services must be paid for out of pocket by the patient, leaving something critical for well-being untreated.    When the burden of cost is left up to the individual, it’s easy to see why their mental health gets shoved aside.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has made a vow to provide more support with regards to de-stigmatization and increased public spending for mental health but this will be a long and slow process.

How To Have Access To Affordable Treatment

  • Have your General Practitioner treat you or ask them to refer you to a Psychiatrist.  This should be covered by your Provincial Health Care.
  • Ask your employer if there is an employee assistance program. Find out if there are counseling services available to you or if they cover additional costs included with your benefits.
  • Look for mental health organizations such as the Canadian Mental Health Association, Mood Disorders Association of Ontario, and Schizophrenia Society of Ontario.  Services like this can direct people to the right place for treatment.
  • Try the Beacon app.

For Children

Kids Help Phone is Canada’s only national helpline for young people between the ages of 5 and 20. It offers:

  • 24-Hour confidential and anonymous support.
  • Professional counsellors and counseling options.
  • Online resources that provide tips and advice on the challenges that young people face.

Call 1-800-668-6868 to speak with Kids Help Phone. You can download the Always There app.

This information is provided by the Government of Canada.

If you are experiencing feelings of hurting yourself, call 911 or contact one of the crisis centers that are available 24/7.

Health Vantis

www.healthvantis.ca

877-344-3544

info@healthvantis.com

Medical Travel For A Sports Injury

Medical Travel for the Athlete

In the past few months we have been getting a few calls from injured athletes looking for a faster solution to their medical problem. Athletes are tough individuals and can usually push through the pain, however, sometimes that is just not possible.  Many times it requires medical attention that might include a diagnostic test or surgery in their future.  It is difficult for an athlete to hear they need to have a specialist consult but cannot get in for 9 months.  Or that they need to have a surgery but have to wait another 6 months.  That is when we get a call inquiring about medical travel for a sports injury.  

Athletes are people who are most likely in the best physical fitness you could imagine.  Even for a non-professional athlete, if you are a consistent runner, swimmer, tennis player or softball player on a league just for fun, chances are your health is important to you.  But even our most fit people can and do get injured.  

Sitting on the sidelines watching your other team members continue to play can cause feelings of anger, frustration and even depression. Injuries not attended to can cause irreversible further damage, loss of muscle tone, the ability to be productive at school or work or potentially a long term disability.   Knowing what your options are may give you the motivation to focus your energy on finding a solution so you can get back out there and play.  Turning to a Medical Facilitator is one of those options.

Why A Medical Facilitator?

When you contact a Medical Facilitator, they listen to what your needs are.  This will help you determine possible alternatives.  They can offer suggestions such as getting your diagnostic test, ie. CT Scan or MRI, done at a private facility.  The benefit of a private and fast diagnostics test is being able to get into the specialist sooner.  

Not all provinces have a wait list a mile long, however, there are many that do.  We recently had a young athlete contact us that had been waiting 6 months to see an orthopedic specialist, all the while in excruciating pain due to a shoulder injury.  His appointment was scheduled for Feb 2019.  That is a 1-year wait of being in pain knowing there will likely be another wait to have the surgery.  Situations like this make it impossible for an athlete to grin and bear it.  

Being proactive and seeking out other alternatives, such as private treatment are a great option.  The cost to pay out of pocket might be minimal in the grand scheme of things when your livelihood and health are affected. 

Contact Health Vantis if you or someone you know is stuck on the sideline waiting.

Health Vantis

www.healthvantis.ca

877-344-3544

info@healthvantis.com