Physicians Janet Horn and Robin H. Miller have written a book dedicated to women going through the changes mid-life brings, and it’s a welcome addition to the self-help market. As the authors make clear, the book is not aimed at keeping one forever youthful, but rather at enjoying the age one is. They lay out health information and advice in clear well laid out chapters, and I particularly enjoyed the inclusion of alternative and complementary health therapies, as well as differing viewpoints on controversial subjects like hormone therapy.
Horn and Miller have been friends for over twenty years, and one of the charms of the book is their running conversation on different medical issues and little anecdotes on how they’ve misinterpreted symptoms in themselves over the years. They also share stories of various patients with different ailments (names changed, of course), and the result is a manual full of medical advice that is nevertheless easy to read.
The authors focus on helping the reader understand how various body parts and systems work and what may happen as they age. Their idea is that this understanding will help women with prevention of illness and early detection when something is wrong. The book covers the conditions most common in mid-life women, particularly those conditions about which there isn’t a lot of information readily available. Such medical hot topics as breast cancer, heart conditions and dementia are not neglected, however. And, though the authors say they wanted to — and did — produce a book that gave more information than “lose weight, quit smoking and get active,” that advice permeates the book as well. There’s no skimping on common sense.
The topics range from understanding such critical systems as the brain, the lungs, and the GI tract to addressing what happens to the skin as we age and the various methods available to reverse signs of aging. Dr. Miller has a fellowship in complementary and alternative medical therapies and suggestions about helpful supplements or therapies like acupuncture are not only included for each health topic, they rate a chapter of their own. I found the list of supplements and vitamins and how they may be used to be one of the most helpful sections of the book, particularly since a discussion of what studies have been done to prove efficacy is included. A reference that discusses both standard medical practice and possible alternative treatments for various conditions fills a useful spot on my bookshelf!