The African-American Woman's Guide to Physical and Spiritual Well-Being
By Melody T. McCloud and Angela Ebron
A Fireside Book - 2003
ISBN: 0-7434-1042-4 (Standard Print)
Reviewed by Angela Evans - February 6, 2003
Blessed Health is a timely, and beneficial book written expressly for African-American women - although women of any hue will benefit from this book. Blessed Health was written by Dr. Melody T. McCloud and Angela Ebron, both are African-American women. McCloud is an obstetrician / gynecologist who founded the Atlanta Women's Health Care, and Ebron is a senior editor at Family Circle.
In this book the authors explain how a woman's body works, and how it can break down. They also explain how you can help prevent it from breaking down. If a problem should arise, they offer guidance on how you can help correct common problems. Besides covering topics related to physical health, the authors also highlight the importance of spirituality as an aspect of overall health.
The information in Blessed Health is organized into easy to navigate chapters, which include:
What Makes Sisters Unique?
Understanding Your Body and Soul
Take Time to Take Stock
The Doctor's Office
Common Illnesses, Simple Cures
A Woman's Body - Dealing with Serious Illness
If You Need Surgery
Back to Basics - Nutrition and Exercise
Caring For Your Breasts
The ABC's of Pregnancy
Not for Men Only - Diseases That Strike Sisters, Too
One of the most important elements of this book is that it acknowledges that we often overlook our own health, while at the same time taking great care of those around us. Even if you feel that you are a superwoman, you must remember that if you take ill, you'll not be able to take care of those around you! Our health is truly a blessing. When we neglect to take care of it, it is as if we were thumbing our nose at God - yet the only one we are really hurting is ourselves. As the authors point out, "African-American women are 38 percent more likely to suffer a fatal heart attack than white women." and "Sisters have the fastest-rising rate of increase for contracting HIV, and we are dying of AIDS at a rate ten times that of white women." (Pg xii) These are but two of the heart-bounding statistics that you will find in this life changing book.
Blessed Health is written in easy to understand language, yet the authors do not talk down to the reader. Rather they speak as if they are speaking to a friend, a friend whom they wish only the best for. In addition to the main text, this book includes a glossary that explains the technical and medical terms that you will encounter in the text. There is also a list of resources where you can go to for more information on the topics covered in the text.
The only fault that I found with this book is that they barely touch upon risk posed by glaucoma. This is an eye disease that can cause damage to optic nerves, and it can rob you of your sight without you ever being aware that anything is wrong - until it is too late. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, "Studies show that African-Americans between ages 45 and 65 are 14 -17 times more likely to go blind from glaucoma than Caucasians with glaucoma in the same age group." This is a threat shared by both African-American men and women, and proper vision screening is essential to detect any potential problems. If caught early, glaucoma can be treated.
Other than this one oversight, this book provides solid information that could, literally, save your life. By following the advice given within the pages of the book will also help you to become a more healthy and fit person. It will also help you to reduce your stress levels while also increasing your levels of spiritually. Blessed Health should be read by every African-American women!
Editor's note: Currently, this book is only available in a standard print edition.
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