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At its best, the health and medical care provided in Spain equals any available in Europe and in many cases is better.

However standards vary across the country with public medicine being scant in many of the inland areas of low population. This is a point to consider when looking for somewhere to live if you or your children or elderly relatives have ongoing medical conditions that might need emergency treatment.

Another point to consider is that Spain takes a different view to rehabillitation, convalescence and terminal illness, leaving care in these cases usually to the relatives. There are very few public nursing and retirement homes, very few hospices and convalescence homes.

However, the Spanish are among the world's healthiest people and have an average life expectancy of 80 for women and 74 for men, the highest in the EU. The incidence of heart disease in Spain is among the lowest in the world, a fact attributed to the Spanish Mediterranean diet.

As with the UK, Spain has a public (national) health system which provides free or low cost health care for those contributing to Spanish social security systems and their dependants. The system also caters for pensioners and includes those from other EU countries. The country has an excellent system of private medicine and this exists easily alongside the State system with both operated so as to compliment each other. There are many English-speaking health practitioners in the more densely populated and tourist areas.

Health factors associated with Spain

The Eastern Mediterranean areas of Spain are amongst the healthiest places in the world to live, a fact endorsed by the World Health Organisation. Spain has a number of different climates with the damp and misty north and the hot arid south being the most extreme.

Rheumatism and arthritis sufferers frequently note a huge improvement in their conditions after moving to Spain and an increase in mobility.

People who suffer from stress often note a marked improvement as the pace of life is slower than in many European countries and the change in lifestyle in a warm and sunny climate generally makes people happier, less prone to colds and with boosted immune systems.

Hay fever or
asthma sufferers may find the high levels of airborne pollen during spring difficult to cope with although this is likely to be less of a problem if you live within a mile or two of the sea.

Sun damage - the incidence of skin cancer is higher in Spain than that experienced in the United Kingdom or other Northern European countries and people from these latitudes suffer a greater risk of contracting the disease. If detected earlier enough it can be treated and many seaside towns now have visiting melanoma detection units that will screen you for no cost and refer you to a health practitioner where necessary. There are tremendous medical benefits to the Spanish sunshine that more than outweigh the slight risks associated with it.

See also
Visitors to Spain – E111/E112
Pensioners
Living in Spain
Working in Spain

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