Doctorcall

If you are travelling abroad for work or study, you may need to meet certain medical requirements to be eligible for a visa. Amongst the many services that we offer here at Doctorcall, we can provide fast and efficient Visa Medicals, covering a range of countries all over the globe, including Afghanistan, Bahrain, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, China, Indonesia, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and South Africa. 

How does it work?

If you require a Visa Medical as part of your visa application, you can easily arrange to have it at one of our clinics in London and Manchester.

The appointment will take up to two hours, during which our experienced doctors will conduct a medical examination and complete all the necessary forms for you. The medical exam will consist of different tests (for example Chest X-ray, Urine Analysis, HIV test) depending on the country you are travelling to and the requirements listed on your visa medical form. We will also be at hand to provide all the information and advice you need to make your visa application as fast, efficient and pain-free as possible.

You can check which examination and test you will be required to take here, where you will also find out more information regarding Visa Medicals based on your country of destination.

How to arrange your Visa Medical with Doctorcall

We can provide appointments at short notice and often on the same day. We can also usually accommodate a range of additional tests and services whether they are in relation to your medical or not, as well as provide additional medical advice and assistance for your travel, including travel vaccinations if required.

All you need to do is book an appointment with us and bring along your passport as well as any relevant information such as repeat prescriptions and specialist letters for any medical conditions that you may have.

You can check for availability using our 'Book An Appointment' tool here. For more information, please visit our ‘Visa Medicals’ page, or feel free to give us a call on 0344 257 0345.

 

When we talk about health inequalities, i.e. the avoidable differences in people’s health across specific population groups, there are a whole host of factors that come into play. From education and good quality housing, through to geography and access to health services. Yet one constant right across the globe is the health gap between men and women. And the stats, as they say, don’t lie.

On average, women in the UK can now expect to live almost four years longer than their male counterparts. Much of this is caused by hormonal differences, for example, men generally have more visceral fat which surrounds the organs, whereas women tend to have more subcutaneous fat, which sits under the skin. However, lifestyle differences play a huge part.

In the UK, one man in five dies before he reaches 65. The tragedy in all of this? With earlier detection, so many of these deaths can be avoided.

It may sound like a stereotype, but men’s reluctance to consult their doctor and talk about their problems is a perennial issue. Research conducted by the Men’s Health Forum indicates that men are less likely to visit their doctor, to acknowledge illness and to seek help, compared to women. This is why the Forum are observing Men’s Health Week from 10th – 16th June, to shine a light on the issues facing men’s health, and to encourage men and boys to seek professional advice for health-related problems.

Let’s drill down further and take a look at some of the areas that are driving these statistics.

Diabetes

Men are 26% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than women. The charity, Diabetes UK, states that 3.8 million people in the UK are now living with the condition. Furthermore, in middle-aged men, prevalence is expected to become increasingly more common over the next decade. Therefore, men really do need to be more conscious around how to prevent diabetes, as well as being able to recognise those tell-tale symptoms such as excessive thirst, fatigue and frequent urination to name a few. Weight management, diet and alcohol intake all play their part, and we encourage frequent check-ups to assess your risk level.

Coronary Heart Disease (CAD)

One of the UK’s biggest killers is CAD, which accounts for 1 in 7 of every male deaths in the UK. The condition occurs when the heart’s blood supply becomes blocked by the build-up of fatty substances in the coronary arteries, which, over time, causes the walls of the arteries to become furred up with fatty deposits. The causes are typically due to lifestyle factors, like smoking and obesity, as well as conditions such as diabetes, and, importantly, family history. To prevent CAD, we monitor the levels of cholesterol and other blood lipids carefully, and, if caught early, can be arrested and even reversed.

Prostate Cancer

As men get older, the prostate, which is a small gland that sits under the bladder, can naturally enlarge. Although enlargement is not a life-threatening condition, it can lead to other issues, with urinary problems often a common warning sign. In men, we are particularly concerned to screen for prostate cancer from the age of fifty as it is a silent killer. Once you’ve had that all-important assessment and diagnosis, there are many treatment options, which can range from simply monitoring, to medication and surgery, depending on the severity of the diagnosis.

Mental Health

There has been a step-change in how society views mental health in recent years, but we are still a long way off parity between men and women in its impact. Tragically, over three quarters of all suicides are male, and it is now the biggest killer for men under the age of 35. There are a range of treatment pathways available to those seeking help, however, mental health issues can be severely damaging if left untreated. Therefore, having the courage to visit a healthcare professional and being able to talk openly in a safe environment is hugely important. 

Nothing is More Important Than Your Health

So, gentleman, if you want to be there to experience your kids’ graduation, to play with your grandchildren, and to enjoy a long and active retirement, the old excuses just won’t cut it anymore. Too busy to see a doctor? Make the time. Worried they might find something you won’t like? Identify it early and get the necessary treatment. Nothing is more important than your health.

Peace of Mind Health Screening

Doctorcall offer a range of health screening options. If you are worried about a particular problem or symptom, we recommend booking a private GP consultation and getting the tests that are specifically relevant to that issue rather than a full screen. If you are under 50 and apparently in good health, a Health Screen provides excellent value for money. Otherwise we recommend a Platinum Health Screen. Click here for more information.

Here’s a gloomy statistic for you: the average working Londoner who drives will spend well over 100 days of their life stuck in traffic. Ouch.

A motorbike can be quicker at navigating London's busy streets

Aside from the sheer tedium and stress this causes, life is far too short for it to be spent praying that the traffic light stays green for just a split second longer. So, when it comes to visiting your doctor, the last thing you need to worry about is missing your appointment because of the latest snarl-up on the M25 clockwise.


This is why we are bringing care to you…on two wheels. In a way that is uniquely tailored to that infamous London traffic, one of our Doctorcall doctors is using their motorbike to see patients at their home.


Conventional? Not exactly. A high-quality service tailored to your busy needs whilst living in the capital? Absolutely.
Whilst we can’t guarantee all our doctors opt for this speedy method of transport, Doctorcall offers a range of services designed to suit you. For more information, click here.

Diabetes Week (10 - 16 June) is the annual highlight in the Diabetes UK calendar, designed to raise awareness and understanding of the condition.

 
Over the past 20 years, the number of people in the UK living with diabetes has risen from 1.4 million, to 3.8 million. If we take into account the likely number of those who are undiagnosed, the figure is well over 4 million, with increased prevalence only set to continue. From a global perspective, it is estimated that around 1 in 11 people now have the condition. 
 
There are several factors driving this, from changing lifestyles, more accurate diagnosis, and the simple fact that we are living longer all contributing to these numbers. Yet even though diabetes is more common than ever before, there are many misconceptions associated with the condition, with a key objective of national Diabetes Week is to dispel such myths.
What is diabetes?
 
Type 1 - Type 1 diabetes, or childhood-onset, is characterised by insufficient insulin production and thus requires the daily administration of insulin. Of those in the UK who have diabetes, around 8% have this type, the root cause of which, is still not known to this day.  
 
Type 2 - Type 2, or adult onset, constitutes the majority of those living with the condition and is a result of the body’s ineffective use of insulin. Whereas type I’s root causes are unknown, type 2 is largely the result of behavioural issues, such as body weight and physical inactivity. The symptoms between the two types are similar, however, Type 2’s impact tends to be less marked, often meaning diagnosis is a lot later, enabling complications to develop before diagnosis. 

What are the symptoms?

Type 1 is often identified at a young age because it is sufficiently symptomatic, with increased thirst (polydipsia), urination (polyuria) and general weakness and discomfort (malaise) all tell tale signs of the condition. Type 2, however, is not usually picked up until it is tested for. Nevertheless, the symptoms outlined in type 1 are replicated here, with other issues such as sudden weight loss, or wounds taking longer to heal, also indicating the occurrence of diabetes. 
How can it be managed?
 
Type 1 - A diabetes management plan will help people to manage their diabetes, enabling them to stay healthy and active. Such a plan will include the regular use of prescribed insulin, a balanced diet, with accurate carbohydrate counts, exercise and constant monitoring of their blood sugar levels.
 
Type 2 - With the right level of treatment and care, the effects of type ii diabetes can be managed, and even reversed. There are different ways of treating the condition, but the most common pathway will include healthier eating, exercise and weight loss. Most people will also need medication to bring their blood glucose down to a safer level. 
How can we reduce the risk of diabetes?
 
If left untreated, diabetes boasts a whole host of nasty repercussions, from blindness to kidney failure. Yet while genetics, age and past behaviors all play their part, there are many actions we can all take to significantly reduce the risks associated with the condition:
  1. Avoid purified sugar and refined carbohydrates 
  2. Exercise on a regular basis
  3. Make water your go-to beverage of choice 
  4. Cut out cigarettes
  5. Make a significant effort to lose weight
  6. And finally, be sure to get tested annually!

What Doctorcall can do to help?

Doctorcall provides health screening and also a Diabetes Screen – Home Testing Kit. Also known as a HbA1c test, the Diabetes Home Testing Kit is for anyone concerned about diabetes. Using the latest technology, we can make an analysis from a single sample. This home testing kit is posted in a discrete, unmarked packet delivered by Royal Mail.
Tissues at the ready. The season is finally here. 
 
Allergy season, that is. 
 
So, what exactly is hay fever, why do we get it and how can we best manage it?
 

The Long Battle

 
Allergic rhinitis – more commonly known as hay fever - is an allergy to inhaled pollen that causes the inside of the nose to become inflamed. 
 
When you have an allergic reaction, it is essentially your body overreacting to something it perceives as a threat. In hay fever, an allergy to pollen leads your immune system to respond as if it were being attacked by a virus, releasing a number of chemicals designed to fight off what it wrongly perceives as an infection, manifesting as symptoms of that allergic reaction.
 
The typical symptoms of hay fever are sneezing, a stuffy nose and red, sore eyes. 
 
Based on the symptoms you’re experiencing, your GP should be able to diagnose hay fever, and in some cases, you may be referred for allergy testing (a skin prick test and a blood test).
 
The differential diagnosis is infection, but when the symptoms affect both nose and eyes at the same time in the absence of a coloured discharge and when it is seasonal, the diagnosis is clear. In severe and long-standing cases, there can be sinus pain caused by congestion and blockage and we can even see swelling of the bridge of the nose caused by grossly congested sinuses.

Beyond the Wall

 
Our nasal passages are designed to remove impurities from the air we breathe in: passageways in the walls called turbinates help to moisten the air that flows in through the nose, filtering and depositing impurities such as dust, pollen or bacteria onto the walls, where goblet cells produce sticky mucus to trap these particles, which are expelled by sneezing or swallowed and destroyed by the stomach acids. This system is triggered inappropriately in those with allergies, to the extent that the airways and other mucous membranes become inflamed and swollen (over time, this hypertrophy of tissues can lead to the formation of nasal polyps), causing the symptoms associated with hay fever. 
 
Hay fever can be seasonal (caused by an allergic reaction to pollen from grass, trees and weeds during the early spring and summer months), or perennial, where people experience symptoms year-round (from allergens such as such as house dust mites, pets, or moulds). 

The Winds of Winter

 
If you’re allergic to pollen, you may finally get a break as the long nights of winter arrive and the weather turns cold. Between late March and September, however, (between Easter and the end of the summer school holidays), hay fever is usually worse, especially when it's warm, humid and windy. This is when the pollen count is at its highest and more likely to be spread, making symptoms of hay fever worse. 
 
Depending on the type of pollen you're allergic to, symptoms also differ during the year as trees and plants produce their pollen at different times.
 
It also tends to be slightly worse around the middle of the day, so sufferers are advised to exercise at the beginning or at the end of the day, where pollen levels tend to drop. 
The Children 
 
You can get hay fever at any age, though it is more commonly developed in childhood or teenage years. 
 
Along with asthma, eczema, hives, nut allergy and food/antibiotic allergies, hay fever is a Type 1 Hypersensitivity allergy. If you have a family history of allergies (particularly asthma or eczema) or a parent with Type 1 Hypersensitivity, after exposure to pollen there is a chance of your allergic system becoming intolerant of it, increasing your likelihood of developing hay fever. 
 
Hay fever is also most common in children, particularly boys. Many people partially or completely grow out of it, and in adults it is equally common in both sexes.

Hold The door

 
Although it’s difficult to completely avoid pollen, there are some things you can do to manage exposure to it, for example keeping indoors when pollen levels are high, wearing wrap-around sun glasses, putting Vaseline around the nostrils to trap pollen, and using medication as required. Medication consists of antihistamines and steroids, which we prefer to give topically (i.e. creams and drops) to minimise side effects.
 
If you have hay fever, it is also best to avoid outdoor exercise when pollen levels are high#HoldTheDoor

Summer is Coming

 
With hay fever season upon us, there are some other steps you can take to manage your symptoms, for example opting for foods high in antihistamine with anti-inflammatory effects, such as:
·      Coffee, which reduces the tendency of mast cells to excrete antihistamine
·      Omega 3 fatty acids found in oily fish
·      Fresh fruit containing anti-oxidants and vitamin C 
 
Additionally, we recommend treatment for severe and persistent hay fever, as untreated rhinitis places you at risk of developing nasal polyps which comes with further complications. Immunotherapy, aimed at retraining the immune system to reduce allergy symptoms, is an interesting and ongoing area of research, though it has a long way to go yet.
 
Although there is currently no cure for hay fever, there are treatments available and ways to help mitigate its symptoms - particularly during allergy season when pollen levels are high. 
 
So, there you have it. With the long days upon us you now know everything, Jon Snow, about how you can best manage your symptoms this season. 
 
For more information about Doctorcall, visit www.doctorcall.co.uk.