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Post any info health related here  :GoldenSmile1:

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Centre Medical International (CMI)

Located downtown next to the cathedral, the centre provides a high standard of medical care from qualified French and Vietnamese physicians. Its range of services include general and tropical medicine, cardiology, gynaecology, osteopathy, pediatrics, psychiatry, speech therapy and traditional Eastern medicine.

1 Han Thuyen, D1 Tel: 3827 2366 www.cmi-vietnam.com





European Dental Clinic

Expat English and French-speaking dentist. Performs full range of dental treatments including whitening, aesthetic fillings, porcelain crowns, full ceramics, veneer and orthodontic treatment. 24-hour emergency line: 0909 551 916 or 0916 352940.

17 – 17A Le Van Mien, Thao Dien, District 2 Tel: 0918 749 204/08 3744 9744




Starlight Dental Clinic

With 14 years’ experience providing dental treatment to expat and Vietnamese patients, this well-known dental surgery is staffed by both foreign & local practitioners. Au fait with the latest treatments and techniques, the surgery prides themselves on their high standard of equipment & sterilization.

Dr. Philippe Guettier & International Team of Dentists 2Bis Cong Truong Quoc Te, D1 Tel: 3822 6222



Accadent Dental Clinic

A clinic that brings leading German dentistry to Vietnam. All dentists here were trained in Germany and all equipment comes from Germany to ensure proper hygiene and quality.

Khumo Plaza, 39 Le Duan, District 1 Tel: 08 6267 6666

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Simon Stanley looks at the real cost of counterfeit designer sunglasses. Photo by Vinh Dao.



Two years of riding around Saigon in knock-off sunglasses was all it took for ICT teacher Daniel Gamwell to find out the hard way. When a worsening eye irritation forced him to visit the opticians, he was immediately diagnosed with pterygium.


“It felt like there was grit in my eye,” he tells me. “I’d tried [over the counter] drops but it wouldn’t clear. It was really uncomfortable.”


Also known as ‘surfer’s eye’, pterygium is a build up of creamy, bloodshot, non-cancerous tissue which slowly stretches over the white of the eye towards the pupil. Being widely attributed to prolonged, cumulative UV exposure, Gamwell’s collection of cheap, imitation designer sunglasses were the main culprits. Low prices mean low quality, which often means low to non-existent UV filtration.


“Pterygium is very common in Vietnam,” says Dr Nam Tran Pham, Medical Director at District 7’s American Eye Center. “Anyone who lives around the equator and the tropics [is at increased risk], especially those who spend a lot of time outside or on the beach.”


Fortunately, most cases will clear up without treatment, or with the help of prescribed eyedrops, but if it reaches the iris (and ultimately the pupil), vision can become impaired and surgical removal may be required. Gamwell was able to avoid such drastic measures, but it was the warning he needed. “Wear proper sunglasses!” he says.



Invisible Damage


Dr Pham explains that like skin, our eyes are extremely sensitive to excessive sunlight. Unlike skin, however, they have no early warning system like obviously sunburned skin.

“Unless you have an excessive burst of exposure,” she says, “like those who work in abnormally bright conditions, welders for example, you won’t often have [any short-term] symptoms. It’s usually a cumulative effect over many years.”


In addition to pterygium, UV exposure has been linked to cataracts, macular degeneration – the painless but gradual loss of vision – and cancers, both within the eye itself and on the eyelid or surrounding tissue. For those with pale skin and/or blue eyes (a sign of reduced melanin, the body’s natural UV protection), the risks are even greater.


While a fake pair of wallet-friendly designer shades might reduce the visible brightness of the sun, Dr Pham believes that many do not offer adequate protection against the invisible wavelengths which actually do the damage.


“Consumers often don’t understand that it’s not the dark colour that protects the eyes from UV rays,” she explains, stressing that darker tints are in no way an indication of increased safety. “UV protection is actually a chemical coating on top that blocks the UV light. It’s a clear coating.”



The UV Test


With the help of the team at the American Eye Center and their state-of-the-art facility, we put a range of sunglasses through their paces, testing the UV blocking capabilities of everything from the two dollar ‘Bui Vien specials’, to some genuine, high-end designer specs.


Purchased on a District 1 pavement for just VND 30,000, our neon green imitation Ray Ban Wayfarers are an immediate fail, stopping just 30 percent of the UV light fired from the clinic’s purpose-built machine. It’s a long way from the widely recommended safe minimum of 95 percent. They feel cheap, they feel poorly made, and on close inspection we notice one lens has a tiny hole in it.


“Some people just want the look of these glasses,” says Dr Pham, “but as for the actual protection, they are not good.” Into the bin they go.


Moving on we have a slightly pricier pair of fake Wayfarers at VND 50,000. The build quality is visibly better but the UV protection hits just 45 percent. Still nowhere near adequate.


Next are a pair of counterfeit Ray Ban Clubmasters which came with an initial price-tag of VND 150,000. We haggled him down to VND 75,000 but the higher price does seem to have caused a jump in the UV rating – 80 percent. We’re getting closer.


Our fourth pair, originally priced at VND 200,000, will win us no prizes for fashion – they look like a cross between safety-goggles and a prop from a sci-fi movie. They bear no designer logo (or brand-name of any kind) but the ‘100 percent UV’ label caught our eye. They come back at 90 percent. Not bad, but not great.


Unsurprisingly, the genuine designer brands in our lineup block 100 percent of the UV light, but, as our next batch confirms, you don’t have to drop $150 or more to get full protection. There are effective options available at a much more reasonable price point. Sitting in the middle of our price spectrum, costing between $10 and $25, are our ‘high-street’ options, purchased from the likes of Aldo, Marks & Spencer, Accessorize and Gap. All come back with a 100 percent UV rating.


Just as we might think twice before covering our skin in counterfeit sunscreen, we should apply the same logic when protecting our eyes. “Good UV protection is a preventative measure,” says Dr Pham. “And there are reasonable options. Sunglasses don’t have to be really expensive.”

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Simon Stanley comes face to face with one of Southeast Asia’s most prevalent parasites. Photos by Vinh Dao.




“I think it’s time to go to the doctors,” said my girlfriend as I staggered out of the bathroom for the third time that morning. After four days of soaring temperatures, painful joints, a screaming headache and cold sweats, not to mention the diarrhoea, she had a point.


Within two hours of making the call to Family Medical Practice, I had been sampled, tested, diagnosed and discharged, and handed no less than 240 pills to see me through a thirty day programme of antibiotic treatment for the amoebic infection known as amebiasis.


According to The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, the intestinal parasite which causes this endemic disease, entamoeba histolytica, affects an estimated 50 million people across the world each year, with death rates as high as 100,000. Commonly found in tropical areas with poor sanitary conditions or low food-hygiene standards, Vietnam is understandably a hotbed for such cases.


“Amebiasis is one of the most common forms of traveller’s diarrhoea in Vietnam,” says Dr Okuda, Gastroenterology Specialist at HCMC’s Family Medical Practice. “I see it on a daily basis here.

“Viral or bacterial infections normally go away within several days or a week. You don’t necessarily need a treatment, but if you feel sick, you should come and see a doctor.”


It is when a patient simultaneously experiences stomach cramps, fever, headaches or nausea, alongside the diarrhoea, that medical attention may be considered necessary. Symptoms alone cannot indicate the presence of amebiasis so it’s important to get tested. However, as Dr Okuda is keen to point out, if a patient has been suffering with prolonged diarrhoea for two weeks or more, even if they are feeling well otherwise, it’s also time to get help.


How the bacteria gets inside of you is rather a grim tale.


“It is a faecal-oral infection,” says Dr Okuda. Grim indeed. Contamination commonly occurs via unwashed hands and surfaces, entering the body through food, eating utensils, drinking vessels or cookware. In areas where human faeces is used as a fertiliser, the parasite can even pop up in the water supply. “Anything which goes into your mouth can be contaminated,” says the doctor. Left unchecked, it can spread from the intestines to the liver and beyond, littering vital organs with abscesses – serious stuff.





As with all cases of diarrhoea, staying hydrated is your number one priority. Isotonic drinks or powdered electrolyte solutions are ideal for replacing the essentials salts and sugars lost. Water alone may not be enough.


Being an aggressive parasite, the antibiotics – or anti-parasitics to be precise – are equally as tough. But should we heed the warnings regarding the overuse of antibiotics and the resultant increase in bacterial resistance? Is it really worth hesitating before mindlessly popping pills?


“For me,” says Dr Okuda, “whenever you need an antibiotic, you can take it. If you had an antibiotic treatment last week, and this week you have pneumonia and you almost die, would you say ‘I don’t want to take it’?” He has a point. In the case of amebiasis, the treatment is highly specific to the disease.






Washing your hands properly before eating and after using the bathroom is your best bet in preventing the spread of this or any other intestinal infection. Secondly, you should never drink the tap water. There is a common misconception among visitors that this also means avoiding ice outright. In most cases, the ice in your coffee or beer will have been produced in a factory using purified drinking water – a legacy of French colonial rule. Look for pure, transparent ice with a hole through the centre to be certain.


That said, Dr Okuda warns that this does not make it completely safe. “The way they keep ice here can also be a source of infection,” he says. “Restaurants and bars will sometimes scoop the ice with a serving mug which may have been kept on a table or a shelf. By scooping ice with that mug, the bottom of which has touched the table, the entire container is contaminated.”


Many foreigners also choose to avoid street food altogether. In today’s health conscious world, however, if you read every official warning out there, you might never leave the house. Accordingly,


Dr Okuda suggests a more pragmatic approach.

“It is part of the risk in your life,” he says. “It depends on how much you agree to take.” For him, when you start drawing firm lines it can be hard to know where to stop. “If I say ‘avoid street food’, then [i might have to] say ‘avoid local restaurants’, [and then] do you not lose a piece of fun in your life? As my passion is eating, I hate limiting patients’ food.”


As for me, the outlook is good. Within several days of starting the treatment, my symptoms cleared up – although only the full course of drugs will ensure the complete eviction of my amoebic friends. As for when and how I picked them up, Dr Okuda says it’s not worth considering. “You may have had street food the night before,” he says, “but actually it may have come from an established place you ate at a week ago. You can never tell.”





For more information on Family Medical Practice Vietnam visit www.VietnamMedicalPractice.com

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