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by Traci Ferguson

Pub Date: July 30th, 2008
ISBN: 978-1-4196-9713-5

A board-certified internal-medicine physician takes the guesswork out of maximizing a healthy lifestyle.

Ferguson knows the pitfalls of trying to keep an active lifestyle, especially when a person’s daily routine can entail juggling a demanding job, an energetic family, appointments, housework and squeezing in time for exercise. The 21 “secrets” she describes range from the simplistic to the extremist. Ferguson sensibly stresses the importance of maintaining a “two-way relationship” with one’s primary-care physician, though the chapter preface–in which she tells readers that doctors sometimes purposely withhold information from patients, resulting in the latters’ death–seems excessively panicky. Other chapters are more reader-friendly and less threatening. In relaxed prose, the author explains how cravings and external stimuli can lead to poor eating behaviors, how to recognize and handle a possible heart attack, the bottom line on whether vitamins and supplements really enhance healthy food choices and her professional opinion on the effectiveness of plant extracts like Ginkgo–as well as health “crazes” like glucosamine, chondroitin, melatonin and saw palmetto. The author wisely incorporates real-life examples (including ones involving her family) to illustrate how radical behavior modification in conjunction with medication can effectively lower high blood pressure. Ferguson also details how readers can reduce cancer risks, eat properly (portion control, smart snacking, limiting alcohol consumption) and avoid bone loss. At length, the author demystifies the subjects of sexual dysfunction and weight loss. Less interesting are chapters on diabetes and time management, which simply reiterate common knowledge and offer little in the way of innovative approaches. Though this type of comprehensive medical manual has been released before (in sprawling hardcover editions), Ferguson meets her goal of supplying readers with the simple tools “to make healthier choices and develop a keener understanding of your health.”

A manageable dose of useful medical information.