A critical care nurse imparts the importance of health literacy through facts and personal history.
During her childhood in Norway, debut author Pelaez was surrounded by people who needed to know how to take better care of themselves. Her parents suffered from cardiovascular disease after lifetimes of smoking, stress, and sedentariness. The author assumed these habits herself, and it was a long chain of cigarettes to the self-actualized life she leads today. As a critical care nurse, Pelaez witnesses epidemics like CVD firsthand. In 2010, 150,000 people under the age of 65 died from CVD in the U.S. To make matters worse, only 15 percent of Americans are health literate and aware of the way their daily habits affect their bodies and, by extension, their capacities to enjoy life. Obesity, high blood pressure, smoking, and even low self-esteem lead to life-threatening cases of CVD every day. Using Abraham Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Needs” to ground her case, Pelaez details the science behind CVD, its many (scarily common) causes, and how to prevent it. Rather than deliver a dry, long-winded set of facts and statistics, Pelaez interweaves her medical expertise with her own personal experiences. Descriptions of Norwegian culture, family relationships, and devastating bouts of illness make for a riveting read. She readily blends tips for physical and mental well-being, which makes them easier to implement: Pelaez notes the five ingredients in Norwegian pancakes and segues into the five core components of meditation without missing a beat. Moving deeper into the realm of interior life, Pelaez explains the importance of self-love and how our views of ourselves can radically affect our health. The importance of planning ahead for the end of life is also covered here.
A rare self-help guide that delivers the perfect balance of facts and memoir.