September Fitness

Life is busy and moves very fast. As seasons change, so can our motivation to exercise. In spring, before summer comes, some people get more motivated to get healthy and lose weight to look good for the beach. The new year has a similar motivation – new year, new you!  However, you should not be discouraged to start any exercise and weight loss program in the fall.

Even though the weather is getting cooler, it may be easier to go for a walk or a run. There is no heat to bear and no need to hide as much from harmful sun. Beautiful fall foliage creates picturesque views around us. If you have a family with children, they are back at school. Our routines take over, which is great for setting up your workout schedule.

Exercise has many benefits for physical and mental health. Walking is great for weight loss and mental state. Many studies cite improvements in both. If you add 30 min of a brisk walk to your daily routine, you can burn about 150 calories a day! One of the studies found that walking reduces belly fat, which is associated with negative effects on your overall health.

Losing weight can relieve the stress your body has on your knee joints. A study done with overweight and obese adults with knee osteoarthritis found that losing one pound of weight resulted in four pounds of pressure being removed from the knees. Yet another study showed that losing 10–20 percent of starting body weight improved pain, function, and quality of life better than losing just five percent of body weight.

Don’t wait another day! Go out there and enjoy our beautiful Canadian autumn!

Men’s Health Awareness Week and National Health and Fitness Day

Mens Health Awareness Week and National Health and Fitness Day

The past year has been hard for all of us.  Instead of the freshman 15, it has been said it is now the COVID 15.  People are either going to come out a hunk or a chunk.  If you are coming out a hunk, good for you!  If you are the latter, this month is all about health and fitness as well as men’s heath awareness.   It is about encouraging us to take the steps to improve our overall health.

In the past, you would assume these dedicated awareness dates only meant your physical health.  In today’s world and climate we are in, your mental health is also just as important.  Canada has always had some of the healthiest people worldwide, however, not all men are as healthy as they could be.  Statistics from the Men’s Awareness site show that 29% are obese, 82% do not meet physical activity guidelines, 76% do not eat health food and 35% do not get enough sleep.

Not having healthy habits can create issues that take a quick turn in your overall well being.  Not eating healthy, sleeping well or getting regular exercise can lead to obesity.  Obesity can cause high blood pressure and diabetes.  High blood pressure and diabetes can cause heart disease.  Heart disease can cause a heart attack.  You get the picture.  It’s a domino effect that can be controlled very easy just by eating well, not smoking and incorporating a little exercise into your life.  This will also reduce your stress levels and allow you to sleep better each night.

The weather is starting to get better which is perfect timing to get outside and moving, or better yet, trying out a new physical activity.  Exercise is one of the best things you can do for your body.  It is a powerful tool and not only improves your overall health, but also helps with your mental health.  Your body automatically releases good endorphins when you exercise.  This creates better mental clarity and just makes you feel good about yourself in general. 

If you’d like more information on some of the virtual activities that will be held, click here.  There are also endless resources with a great amount of valuable information on this site as well.  

If you are going to be starting a new activity or sport that you haven’t participated in before, read next week blog on how to prevent injuries!

 

Health Vantis

877-344-3544

www.healthvantis.ca

info@healthvantis.com

How Long Can You Wait?

2020 has not been kind to many of us. Canadians endured lockdowns and shutdowns, social isolation and other unpleasant life adjustments due to COVID-19. They also endured longer medical wait times as many experienced cancellations of their scheduled elective surgeries.

According to the new report issued by Fraser Institute on December 10, 2020, it is estimated that “the total number of procedures for which people are waiting in 2020 is 1,224,198, an increase of 15% from the estimated 1,064,286 procedures in 2019.” That means that 3.2% of Canadians were waiting for their elective medically necessary treatment last year. Each province has a different percentage of their population waiting – Quebec has the lowest – 1.97% of the population and Nova Scotia is much higher – at 9.97%. Only the province of Manitoba did better – their number of people waiting for medical procedures decreased.

The total waiting time between referral from a general practitioner and delivery of medically necessary elective treatment by a specialist averaged across all 12 specialities and 10 provinces surveyed, has risen from 20.9 weeks in 2019 to 22.6 in 2020. This is the longest wait time on record. It is 143% longer than in 1993 when it was just 9.3 weeks.

Each province fared differently in medical wait times, as medical care is in the hands of provincial governments. Province of Ontario seems to have the shortest wait times overall, from GP referral to delivery of medically necessary elective treatment it takes 17.4 weeks. The Maritime provinces had more than double wait of ON – PEI at 46.5 weeks, NS at 43.8 weeks and NB at 41.3 weeks.

Each of the 12 specialities had different wait times. Plastic surgery (34.1 weeks), Ophthalmology (34.1 weeks), Neurosurgery (33.2 weeks) and Orthopedics (34.1 weeks) had the longest waits. The largest increases in waits between 2019 and 2020 occurred for neurosurgery (+7.7 weeks), ophthalmological surgery (+5.7 weeks), and plastic surgery (+5.4 weeks). There were also decreases. Wait times for patients receiving treatment in fields like orthopaedics (−5.0 weeks), and medical oncology (−0.1 week).

In our next blog, we will look at wait times in orthopaedics in more detail. If you are unwilling to wait for your surgery and are able to travel outside of your province, we can help connect you with a private facility in the US or Canada. Please note that only a few private options are available in Canada. Give us a call to find out more details. Toll-free 877 344 3544.

Flu Shot 2020

With flu season approaching us, now it is more important than ever to consider getting a flu vaccine. With COVID-19 resurgence in Canada in the fall, both flu and COVID-19 will be circulating around in winter.

Some people choose not to get the flu vaccine because they think it doesn’t offer much, as each year the virus differs and the vaccine is just an educated guess of what happened during the flu season the year before. Even though it is not perfect, it does offer protection for those viruses included in the vaccine. And if you do happen to get sick with the flu, your symptoms can be milder if you got the vaccination.

You are also protecting your family members and our vulnerable population. People over 65 and those who have special medical conditions make them more susceptible to viruses. Flu vaccination is our best shot at protecting the herd.

Flu and COVID-19 symptoms are very similar. By preventing the flu, you also prevent additional testing and possibly hospitalizations. It means that our healthcare will have less of a burden to carry during the winter flu season and will be able to focus on COVID-19, as there is no vaccine yet.

Do your part and get a flu vaccine, this year and going forward.

EMG In Canada

EMG’s (Electomyography) is a diagnostic test utilized to assess the condition of the muscles and nerve cells that control them.  Many things can be ruled out or diagnosed with this test such as carpal tunnel syndrome, muscle dystrophy or Lou Gehrig disease.

The wait times vary province to province.  Based on conversations with customers, some provinces such as Nova Scotia, can have wait times up to 2 years.  In other provinces like Alberta, the wait could be 2-6 months.  The downside is that there are not many clinics that can do EMG’s on a private basis if you wish to have this done in Canada.  For residents of  Nova Scotia, the closest place would be in Ontario.  If you are in Ontario and/or have OHIP, you cannot have it done on a private basis within the province.  You would have to travel to another province just as someone in Nova Scotia does.  Needless to say, it can be tricky. 

The clinics set the pricing themselves.  The costs will vary greatly from place to place. 

If you are willing to travel to the US, we have affordable options right across the border from Ontario.  While the border is still closed, traveling for medical purposes is deemed essential and can be done.  The concern for COVID-19 is obviously in the back of everyones minds but you can rest assured, these facilities have multiple safety measures in place to protect you to the fullest extent.  

If you would like more information on how we can connect you to a private facility and what their costs are, please contact us info@healthvantis.com or 877-344-3544 and we’d be happy to help.  

The Effects of Waiting for Surgery Amid COVID-19

The Effects of Waiting for Surgery Amid COVID-19

It has been reported through a recent study that over 28 million surgeries around the world could be cancelled during the 12 week peak of COVID-19.  It estimated an additional 2.4 million cancellations would happen for each extra week of shutdowns.  The backlog could take 45 weeks or longer to catch up.  This number could become longer depending on the length of time it takes for countries to open back up as well as a possible second wave this fall.

While the cancellations were necessary, they will have a substantial impact to the patient.  Anytime you delay a necessary surgery, you put your overall health and quality of life at risk.  This includes non-essential surgeries such as a hip replacement or spine surgery.   These may be deemed non-urgent, however, the more time that goes by before having a necessary surgery, the more likely you become disabled.  

Canada has always had a wait list for many kinds of surgeries.  The impact of the pandemic is still unknown.  We do know that it will likely create not only a financial burden, but could create increased health issues as well.

Some of the effects from waiting for your surgery in Canada can be:

  • Loss in wages.  It is estimated in Canada that prior to COVID-19, the amount of wages lost in 2019 was about $2.1 billion.  This equates to an average of $1,963 for each of the estimated 1 million + Canadians waiting for treatment.  With the shutdowns and delayed surgeries, it is now estimated this grows to $6.4 billion in lost wages or $5,972 per person.
  • Increased chance of making the medical condition or the injury worse. If a doctor determined surgery is needed for your condition, it is most likely the case.  Waiting to have the surgery varies greatly depending on what needs done.  Something deemed non-essential, such as an orthopedic surgery, can result in issues with long term, non-reversible effects if not dealt with in a reasonable amount of time.  
  • Increase chance of opioid dependency.  Being in pain can sometimes require a prescription pain medication.  While opioids have recently been limited, they are still being given on the short-term.  The longer you are on these, the higher chance you have of developing an addiction.  
  • Depression.  It’s safe to say that if you are in pain, your mood can change quickly.  Being in constant pain can not only drain your motivation and spirit, it can also cause you become immobile.  This is never good for your health, let alone mental health.  The frustration of not being able to feel well and inability to live your life as you’d like can cause you to slip into a depression.

If you find yourself in a position where you cannot wait any longer, give us a call.  We have several private options back open and available to do your surgery.  You can reach us at 877-344-3544 or info@healthvantis.com

Health Vantis

www.healthvantis.ca

877-344-3544

info@healthvantis.com

Private Knee Replacement Cost

If you were put on a long wait list to get you knee replaced, and are exploring your private options, you are probably wondering if you can afford one. Many Canadians travel outside their province or country to get a surgery or procedure in a private manner, without the wait. Cost considerations are very important. Many will do the search on their own, contacting hospitals and surgical centres in the US and Canada. Often it takes some time and persistence to get a firm, bundled price.

Health Vantis takes care of all the logistics and planning of your medical travel for you. We established relationships with medical facilities in the US and Canada and are usually able to provide a range for the cost of your private knee replacement. We try to match up our clients with the closest facility to their home town, whenever possible. We do this so that the actual travel stays to a minimum and the flights do not exceed 4h, to reduce the risk of DVTs.

Price for your private knee replacement is important, but it should not be the only factor in your decision-making. Consider the reputation of the surgeon and the facility, as well as the number of surgeries performed by the doctor a year. Those numbers are important because the old saying “practice makes perfect” stands here as well. Although there is no magic number that make a surgeon proficient, 5 years of experience and at least 30 surgeries a year is a good start.

Health Vantis will provide you with the information about the surgeon and the facility prior to your decision to go ahead with the surgery. If you wanted to speak with the doctor, we can arrange that too. If you are contemplating a private knee replacement and need to know the costs and what is involved, give us a call toll free 877 344 3544 and we would be happy to help!

Is It Safe to Have Private Surgery at an Outpatient (Ambulatory) Facility?

Advances in surgical techniques and modern medicine allow less invasive, less cutting surgeries, and therefore faster recoveries. Many surgeries can now be done in an outpatient facility, or ambulatory surgical center. In fact, about 60% of al surgical procedures in the United States are performed as an outpatient surgery. After the surgery, you would stay for a few hours at the center, and then go home to continue recovery in a familiar setting and your own bed. But is it safe to do so?

The answer will depend on your general health and the type of surgery. The researchers identified seven main risk factors:

  • being overweight
  • being obese
  • obstructive lung disease
  • hypertension
  • past history of heart attack or stroke
  • previous cardiac intervention
  • prolonged operating room time.

If any of these apply to you, there should be a discussion with your doctor about having surgery at a hospital. This is true even if the surgery is considered low risk. Inpatient surgery will have you stay overnight and more, if need be. It is also suggested that being over 65 years old carries more risk, although age alone should not be used to qualify someone for an outpatient surgery.

All surgeries carry risk. Some have more than others. It is important to understand the potential risks of your particular surgery. Research suggests that certain procedures may be more problematic when carried out on an outpatient basis. Talk with your doctor about the risks involved.

If you are generally healthy, and your surgery is low risk, then outpatient surgical facility may be an option for your private surgery. A recent study published in The Spine Journal looked at insurance database for a single neck surgery – posterior cervical foraminotomy and looked at what the outcomes were. The groups were pretty comparable in age, gender and health conditions. Those that had surgery in the hospital had much higher rates of infections, wound complications, respiratory failure and urinary tract infection compared to those who had an outpatient surgery.

Some other important benefits of outpatient surgery are lower cost and recovering in the comfort of your own home. Your doctor should be able to identify if you are a good candidate for a private outpatient surgery. Most of the facilities we work with offer those with much success. If you would like more information, please contact Health Vantis at toll-free 877 344 3544.

5 Tips to Help with Exercise in Winter

We all know that winter and its colder temperatures can lead to hibernation moods.  Shorter daylight can bring about a lack of motivation to go outside for a run or drive to the gym. It is, however, very important to stay active in winter. In some parts of Canada winter last longer than some people would hope for, and the need to exercise does not diminish. Below are 5 tips to get moving in winter

  1. Bring your workouts indoor – get a gym membership. If a paid gym is out of the budget, set up a small area in your home where you can practice yoga, lift weights or follow an online workout class. All you will need is a yoga mat, your phone and a set of weights.
  2. Join your kids or grandkids in their outdoor play. Some fresh air and moving around is sure to follow!
  3. Dress according to the weather and go outside – walk your dogs, have a look around your neighbourhood, observe winter changes at a local park.
  4. Get a group of friends to commit to a winter exercise routine and motivate each other to stay on track.
  5. Embrace the winter! It gives us an opportunity to ski, snowboard, skate, snowshoe, walk (yes, it is still an exercise in winter!) Pick a winter sport you might enjoy and give it a try!

Do Cortisone Shots Posses Potential Dangers?

Cortisone shots have been used for decades.  In years past, it was thought that there was no real harm or risk involved in having a steroid injection.  There have always been side effects such as dizziness, headaches, trouble sleeping, mood swings, or weight gain but no long term effects identified.  According to a new report, cortisone injections may have more serious side effects than previously reported such as damage to the joints as well as other serious dangers.  

Steroid injections have effectively been used in treating conditions such as back pain, bursitis, gout, osteoarthritis, lupus and tendonitis.  Osteoarthritis (OA) alone affects nearly 5 million Canadians (1 in 6). When medications, physiotherapy and lifestyle no longer work, doctors will often try a cortisone injection to treat the pain.  Although this does not cure the problem, it can be a temporary fix to mitigate pain and swelling to avoid more extreme measures such as surgery.  It can also give you the opportunity to rehabilitate the affected area by reducing the swelling to allow for easier ability to strengthen the joint and surrounding muscles.  

Potential Dangers

Although cortisone has many benefits, there have been more recent concerns identified with regards to knee and hip osteoarthritis.  Some of those include: Rapidly progressive osteoarthritis, subchondral insufficiency ie. a type of stress fracture, osteonecrosis – when bone tissue dies, or causing a delay in surgery.  The study recently done could not provide an exact explanation why these things occur, however, it was thought that the anesthetic that is combined with the injection could be toxic to the cartilage.  More studies would be needed to understand the full effects.

The list of side effects from cortisone shots can be long and exhaustive, however, the advantages can be significant.  It is important to discuss all of the pros and cons with your doctor prior to having one, especially if they are required multiple times or if a surgery may be in the near future.