Daily Trust (Abuja)

Nigeria: Five Books to Keep You Healthy

I am one who believes in health of the mind and body. It is not enough to be physically fit, but your state of mind is crucial to your entire well-being. So many times you see a person looking okay, but he is emotionally and mentally challenged. There are also a lot of people with obsessions, for money, clothes, food, drugs. This person is unwell and needs help. Often times people think it is only when you are lying in bed unwell, that you are sick. Of course, that is an ailment and one needs to be concerned about it as much as any other state of mind. Are you overworked? Have you packed in a lot of stress lately? Stress can lead to other symptoms that are physical or health related. Diabetes, stroke, hypertension are all stress induced. My mantra is, work hard but also rest well. Here are five of my favourite books to give you a healthy start. Enjoy.

1) Under the aegis of a brand of books called Family Medical, published by Geddes & Grossett are a collection of health guide books that have proven to be extremely useful to me over the years. The first one is Women's Health. This is a fantastic reference book where you can double check possible symptoms, why you are feeling funny, and how quickly you should see your doctor. It also offers first aid information, depending on what symptoms you are having. It deals with anorexia nervosa which is a weight loss ailment and premenstrual tension among other issues.

2) Children's Health by the same publishers helps you through the growing up years of your children. It looks at medical conditions, problems, diet and surgery. It educates you about all sorts of children's ailments and conditions including, but not limited to cystic fibrosis, chicken pox and meningitis. Every parent should have a copy. Please note that it does not replace the doctor.

3) Mental Health has the same antecedents with the previous two books and dwells on the various possible ailments that can affect men worldwide. Such ailments or medical conditions include prostate gland cancer, gout, testicular cancer and angina. These books have a wealth of literature on the history and symptoms of these ailments, what can cause them and at what age range one should look out for them. Please note that these books cannot replace your doctor. They are just informative books that keep you on your toes when you need to check your health.

4) There are a set of books that have been in the market for a while whose themes are medicinal plants, healthy foods and medical books for the family. I bought my set from a young lady who goes from office to office selling Encyclopaedia Britannica and other such books. I have found them very useful reference groups. What I have in my collection is Encyclopaedia of Foods, Encyclopaedia of Medicinal Plants and Health and Education for the Family.

5) Any book on mental Health. This is because extreme depression can lead to mental illness and we take this for granted in Africa. The person starts by being unhappy and we do not pay attention. Then they stop going out and after a while they don't bother about how they look. Then after a while, they look scruffy and don't want to interact with anyone. Then they become delusional and lose sense of reality. It often starts slowly and because we do not pay attention, a normal family member can be lost to mental illness from extreme sadness.

This is an often ignored area of health and everyone should get educated about it including medical personnel and ordinary persons.

BONUS BOOKS.

I have a couple of other books which I consult for different health concerns. One of them is called Symptoms. I really do not know who wrote it because I have had it for nearly twenty years and the front cover has fallen off from wear and tear. This book catalogues symptoms of different parts of the body and gives you a possible ailment related to the sort of symptoms catalogued. Although it can be addictive and can become an obsession, it is a useful reference book. Use with a balance and in conjunction with a doctor's views. At some point, my family seized it because I was consulting it for simple pains or just stress from work. (Laughter)

I recommend that you pick up any book on stress as this will ensure you stay stress free so you don't bring on stress related medical conditions to yourself as a result of piling up stress.

I also recommend any book on first aid. Every home should have one. You can save a life in an emergency.

Let me restate that every single book here is informative. These books do not replace your doctor. Self- medication is extremely dangerous and is not recommended. Read these books and arm yourself with enough information to look after yourself and your family.

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