cover image Our Health, Our Lives: Our Health, Our Lives

Our Health, Our Lives: Our Health, Our Lives

Eileen Hoffman. Atria Books, $24 (448pp) ISBN 978-0-671-88085-9

This comprehensive, highly accessible guide to women's physical and mental health seeks to empower women to take charge of their health, much as did its inspirational source, 1973's Our Bodies, Ourselves. Hoffman, a New York City internist and co-founder of the Women's Health Project, however, encourages readers to work within the medical system rather than explore alternative therapies. Citing chilling facts about the inadequacies of health care for women, she maintains that a woman's physiology can affect disease progression and argues for an interdisciplinary primary care specialty in women's health. More than just an enlightening discussion on primary care for women, this guide provides practical medical advice in many areas. In direct, almost conversational prose, Hoffman devotes chapters to such diseases as cancer, osteoporosis and heart disease, leading readers through the practice of identifying conditions, reducing risks and screening for early detection. A section on choosing a doctor offers a thoughtful analysis of the differences between how men and women practice medicine. The author quotes an editorial in the Journal of the American Medical Association, describing women's health care as, ``a patchwork quilt with gaps.'' With this passionate and personal guide, Hoffman does much to make the quilt whole. Serial rights to Cosmopolitan and New Woman; Literary Guild, Doubleday Book Club and Doubleday Health Book Club alternates; author tour. (Mar.)