A guide to a healthy life? Far more like a manual to misery

Physician David Agus’s intention in his pithily titled “A Short Guidebook to a Lengthy Existence” to tackle the confusion of how to reside to be healthy” is certainly commendable but the practicalities concerned, some may possibly think, verge on the obsessional. He is, for instance, really keen on monitoring bodily functions such as the pulse and blood stress that need to, he advises, be recorded daily at distinct occasions for a period of three months. “You will then want to repeat the physical exercise during the yr,” he writes – preferably when each couple of months. This allows for any alterations to be noted and correlated with a personal check out up that calls for reflecting on no matter whether there might be “anything abnormal to report” with breathing, skin, hair, digestion or appetite.

This ritual self-scrutiny it turns out is only the beginning in the (extremely) prolonged journey of staying wholesome. Dr Agus, not surprisingly, is a fantastic believer in wellness checks, commending a routine so extensive it is tough to imagine how 1 could perhaps fit them all in. He helpfully provides a checklist of no significantly less than 25 – that for an individual like myself in my early sixties involves not only a yearly “physical” from my medical doctor with all the usual blood tests for diabetes and cholesterol – but hearing exams, eye tests, bone density screening and regular monthly skin examinations for “marks or changes”. In addition I need to apparently have both a prostate and rectal examination – supplemented at periodical intervals with a total scale stomach ultrasound and colonoscopy.

A lot more contentiously even now he commends a DNA screen that he claims can identify people individuals at danger from forty circumstances. This, he acknowledges, can be an expensive enterprise costing many hundred lbs – and he must know as he runs a commercial business that offers them. His assertion, however, that they will “reduce your chance of circumstances you could be susceptible to” is not correct.

His health guidelines are a blend of the commonsensical (regular physical exercise, don’t smoke) banal (wash your hands, floss your teeth) and modish (consume fish 3 instances a week). Some, nevertheless, are distinctly odd. He does not approve of juicers due to the fact they “oxidise” the substances in fruit and veggies – but then so does cutting them up on a chopping board and consuming them.

As for stiletto heels, they no doubt will, if unwell fitting, trigger some inflammation by rubbing on the feet. It is, nevertheless, nervousness mongering on a genuinely fantastical scale to suggest this may possibly predispose to Alzheimer’s ailment, cancer or accelerated ageing.

But then Dr Agus’s fundamental premise is an absurdity. There are by no means basic options to complex problems and he is both deluded or deceitful in claiming that his individuals dying from cancer or other “life altering diseases” have only themselves to blame for not adhering to the “few” (!) healthy habits outlined in his book.

If you’re in need of inspiration to consider stock of your life-style and dwell a more healthy existence, give the book a go through but I warn you, it may well far more accurately be entitled “A brief guide to misery and neurosis”.

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