Medical Vacations in Costa Rica archives
Page 3:
Snoring is dangerous but can be eased

Medical tourists should plan
as they would for regular trip


By the Medical Vacations in  Cota Rica staff

Traveling to Costa Rica for medical treatment generally is cheaper with the same high standards as First World countries. But just because the goal is specialized medical or dental treatment, travelers have to take the same precautions with their health that they would on any vacation.

"If you are planning to travel to another country for medical care, see a travel medicine practitioner at least four to six weeks before the trip to discuss general information for healthy travel and specific risks related to the procedure and travel before and after the procedure," says the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and `Prevention.

The centers have a long explanation of steps travelers should take before going overseas for treatment on a Web page. The suggestions are similar to those for all travelers, such as to carry medical records.

So does the American Medical Society, which advises that patients choosing to travel outside the United States for medical care should be provided with information about the potential risks of combining surgical procedures with long flights and vacation activities.

Vacation and possible beach time are part of the reason medical tourists come to Costa Rica. But as the Centers say before planning vacation activities, such as sunbathing, drinking alcohol, swimming, or taking long tours, medical tourists should find out if those activities are permitted after surgery.

More good advice from both the Centers and the American Medical Association is to arrange for follow-up care with a local health care provider before leaving home.

Traveling from the United States or Canada requires no special immunization shots, but a prudent traveler will make sure that the basics still are current. That includes a hepatitis shot to protect against the virus that is transmitted through contaminated food and water. Tap water in the Central Valley of Costa Rica is of First World standards, but controls of food handlers are spotty.

Travelers also should know that entering Costa Rica from a country like Panama where yellow fever is a problem requires  vaccination.

The Medical Vacation CR staff also recommends a traveler's insurance policy that includes medical evacuation. That is not just prudent for medical tourists but for every tourist because a severe fall or auto accident can lead to a $15,000 medical evacuation flight home.

Also recommended is for a medical tourist to check into the background of the care provider before deciding to select a provider. Medical Vacations CR only allows advertising from respected practitioners, but some Internet sites are suspect. There are accrediting agencies that rate international providers, and major private hospitals in Costa Rica are fully accredited.
— March 28, 2012

Legislative foe delays tax
that would affect health care

By the Medical Vacation in Costa Rica staff

Tourists coming to Costa Rica for medical treatment received a break this month when the Sala IV constitutional court agreed to hear an appeal of the way a proposed new tax is making its way through the legislature.

The details are technical, but the net result is that it may be a year or more before lawmakers get to vote on the proposed 14 percent value-added tax. The proposal would cover for the first time professional services like medical procedures.

A lawmaker who opposes the tax filed the court appeal. Under a fast-track method for considering the bill, discussion would be limited. The lawmaker objects to this, and this is the basis of his appeal to the judicial authorities.

Medical services are not now taxed in Costa Rica. This is one of the advantages for medical tourists who come here seeking lower-cost treatments. Some dental and cosmetic surgery procedures can be 50 percent lower than North American prices and just as good.

President Laura Chinchilla Miranda is targeting professional services to raise more money for the financially troubled government. So far there have been no suggestions of exemptions for medical procedures performed on tourists, although this still is a possibility. There have been nearly 4,000 amendments filed on the massive tax bill, and each amendment will be discussed separately.

The difference is that the legislative leadership wants to restrict discussion of any amendment to 10 minutes each. Some lawmakers want an open discussion without limits before they vote on each amendment separately.
— Dec. 28, 2011

Snoring is dangerous but can be eased

By Telma Rubinstein D.D.S.
Prisma Dental

It is estimated that at least 50 percent of the world´s population snores. Out of that percentage, at least 40 percent have some form of obstructive sleep apnea. These numbers
continue to grow every day, and the general public is becoming more aware of the dangers associated with snoring.

Snoring usually occurs when
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your tongue and the tissues around the back of the throat relax during sleep. This relaxation causes the tongue and the soft palatal area to fall back and obstruct your airway. When this obstruction occurs, it reduces the amount of air going into the body. This reduction in air flow panics and increases the velocity of air entering your body. The increase in airflow velocity causes the fine tissues in your throat to vibrate and causes the snoring noise.

Apnea is a Greek word that means without breath and refers to the subsequent sleep cessation of breathing during sleep. The obstructive sleep apnea is the second leading cause of stroke in men and the fourth leading cause of cardiac arrest in women.

Other health problems related with snoring include:

• Sleep apnea

• Hypertension

• High blood pressure

• Heart conditions

• Stroke

• Cardiac arrest

And even death!
These alterations about sleeping produced by snoring can be controlled by a custom-made appliance that resembles an athletic mouth guard and is to be worn while sleeping. The appliance eliminates or greatly reduces the snoring noise in patients and helps to keep the airway open. The device works by moving the lower jaw forward, and when this occurs, the tongue will follow forward and the soft palatal tissues cannot obstruct the airway. In other words, you get more air and you do not snore.

The appliance usually lasts approximately 18 to 24 months. However, with proper care, it can enjoy a longer lifetime. Once your dentist prepares the device for you, he or she can provide you with instructions to clean and store the device to increase its durability.

Recent studies have indicated that 87 to 93 percent of worldwide cases have shown to be effective in treating simple snoring and mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea. With this outstanding statistic, hopefully we may be closer to cure snoring completely.

This appliance is approved by the U.S. Federal Drug Administration and the Academy of Medicine Sleep Lab. For more information on this device, please contact Prisma Dental at 2291-5151.