LIVING WITH YOUR DIGESTIVE SYSTEM by

LIVING WITH YOUR DIGESTIVE SYSTEM

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A discussion of digestive diseases that concentrates on their pathology rather than on their prevention--one that's jargony, depressing, and not much help altogether for the generally healthy public. Vernace gives us a ""nearly 100%"" chance of developing some digestive disease, so we are warned of the chief symptoms--""presence of gas,"" changes in bowel habits, heartburn--which can mean anything from pancreatitis to ulcers to cancer. There follow chapters on ten (usually severe) disease states, a chapter of routine diet advice, and one on diagnostic techniques. This is all accurate as far as it goes, but backwards: instead of explaining how to avoid these problems, Vernace gives snippets of advice to sufferers who would in any case be under a physician's care. The advice itself is skimpy, moreover, to the point of insensitivity: a positive attitude is most important in battling stomach cancer, we're told, but since ""cancer and the thought of death are not pleasant things to face. . . it may take you some time to come to grips with your disease."" Vernace's way of aiding that adjustment is to toss off a sentence each for the first four stages of dying (""You may next feel depressed and wish to avoid the company of other people""), and then to offer the assurance that ""you will learn to accept and understand what is happening to you."" Unsympathetic, inappropriate, and fortunately unnecessary--see rather Nancy Nugent's estimable How to Get Along with Your Stomach (1978).

Pub Date: Feb. 24th, 1981
Publisher: Dutton