The Checklist: What You and Your Family Need to Know to Prevent Disease and Live a Long and Healthy Life

The Checklist: What You and Your Family Need to Know to Prevent Disease and Live a Long and Healthy Life

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by Manny Alvarez

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In the tradition of YOU The Owner's Manual, The Checklist is organized as a guide to help individuals and families take the right precautions, at the right time in their lives, to avoid the most common health pitfalls and illnesses, and put them on the path to a vigorous and sound lifestyle.

Each decade in a person's life introduces new


In the tradition of YOU The Owner's Manual, The Checklist is organized as a guide to help individuals and families take the right precautions, at the right time in their lives, to avoid the most common health pitfalls and illnesses, and put them on the path to a vigorous and sound lifestyle.

Each decade in a person's life introduces new risks not seen in their previous ten years. A health plan must be tailor-made to fit a body as it matures decade to decade. Dr. Manny's friendly, easy explanations and simple maintenance breakdowns show people how to act preventively and proactively, without unnecessary fears or reliance on the abundance of outdated, counterproductive health myths. Dr. Manny's mission is to aid readers in their pursuit of living a healthy and long life, and to help close the door on future life-threatening illnesses using proven, sound medical knowledge.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Alvarez, the senior medical contributor for Fox News, presents a unique handbook of diseases and health risks within chronological "decades." Each chapter incorporates relevant, age-related precautions with an accompanying short checklist of recommended medical tests. Alvarez's somewhat chatty, engaging, and encouraging approach works in addressing most of the normal range of age-appropriate health concerns (e.g., prenatal development and migraines in the twenties; urinary diseases in the thirties). Violence, safety, environmental, workplace, and alternative medicine issues are given little or no coverage. Complex medical terms are often not defined in context; a glossary is not included. A somewhat helpful appendix briefly describes common medical tests that are mentioned at the end of chapters; an index would have been useful. The unannotated alphabetical resource list is virtually useless. Although intended as a preventive guide for the whole family, conditions are unevenly covered. While no similar handbooks are currently available, The Checklist is recommended with reservations only for medium to large public libraries as well as consumer health collections.-Janice Flahiff, Univ. of Toledo Health Science Campus Lib. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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The Checklist

What You and Your Family Need to Know to Prevent Disease and Live a Long and Healthy Life
By Manny Alvarez


Copyright © 2006 Manny Alvarez
All right reserved.

Chapter One

The Most Important Years of Your Life

(The First Decade: Ages 0 to 9) This is the carefree decade, though you won't realize that for another decade or more. You will be completely taken care of by your parents. All you have to do is play and enjoy life. There are no worries for you; your parents will be doing plenty of that. These are the most important years of your life. What your parents do for you now establishes the foundation on which your future mental and physical health rests.

Every time I deliver a baby, the beauty of the newborn amazes me. I always wonder if they are already longing for the days and months of warmth in their mother's body. They are so beautiful and perfect. Yet from the moment a child is born we start counting the days and the many firsts that accompany them: the first visit to the pediatrician, the first vaccination, the first day of preschool ... wait, let's back up a moment.

A minute after birth there is life's first test, administered by the pediatrician or nurse in the birthing room. The Apgar test, as it's called, is a quick evaluation of the newborn's physical condition that determines if the baby needs emergency care. If the baby has good Apgar scores and looks fine, the baby is handed over to the mother so that the very important bonding process canbegin immediately. (See "Welcome to the World," page 20.)

Bonding is one of the most beautiful moments of human life. Bonding reestablishes a physical attachment to the mother, after the physical detachment from the womb at birth, and forges the emotional and psychological attachments the child will need to thrive in the world. Bonding with the father is important as well. Fathers can bond with their children by holding them, helping them get to sleep, and giving them baths. A firm bond between the mother and child, and between the father and child, will boost the child's self-esteem, which in turn will affect how well the child does later in school and how he or she will build relationships with friends and react to stressful or new situations later in life.

To Breast-feed or Not?

Now is the perfect time to begin breast-feeding. By continuing to nourish your child with your own body as you have done for nine months, you will ensure a healthy future not only for your child but for yourself as well. This may sound like a big promise, but it's one that delivers. Breast-feeding is very important because it significantly reduces the risk for all sorts of allergies and improves the baby's health as well as the mother's. Not only does it improve her metabolism, it definitely has some long-term protective benefits for the breast health of the mother. Some studies have shown that women who have breast-fed a child have lower breast cancer rates.

Typically, breast-feeding is recommended for anywhere between six months to a year. The longer you do it, the better. But most women cannot breast-feed after six months, and doing it even for just a month or two is fine, too. A little bit is better than nothing at all.

Many mothers, however, will choose to use baby formula instead. Most formulas today are nutritionally balanced with the right minerals, vitamins, and iron. While formula is effective, it does lack immunoglobulins, the antibodies found in breast milk that protect the child's ears, nose, throat, and gastrointestinal tract from viral and bacterial infections. (The mother's milk is said to be environmentally specific, meaning that her milk specifically protects her infant from the organisms to which the infant is most likely to be exposed.) There are many kinds of formulas, of course. For instance, soy-based formulas are especially made for babies who become intolerant to regular formula. Speak to your pediatrician about finding the right formula for your baby.

Cord Blood

Some mothers are now storing their infant's umbilical cord blood upon delivery, and you might want to think about doing so as well.

First, a quick explanation of what umbilical cord blood is. When a baby is born, the umbilical cord is clamped and cut to separate the infant from the mother. The portion of the cord that is attached to the placenta is removed from the mother's body and is usually discarded. Inside the cord are blood vessels that contain a good half cup of blood that belongs to the baby. That blood contains many stem cells. Our body uses stem cells as a way of repairing itself. Many parents are now choosing to collect and store that umbilical cord blood in case those cells are needed for their child somewhere down the line. It's like backing up files on your computer in case your hard drive crashes.

But how can a human "hard drive" crash? Let's take, as an example, the case of childhood leukemia, a cancer of the blood system. (See "Childhood Leukemia," page 22.) Many children who develop leukemia get effective treatments, but those treatments eliminate not only the cancer cells but some of the healthy cells as well. The child's "hard drive" gets erased, so to speak.

Typically, patients need to replenish their system with new cells-usually from another source, like bone marrow from a compatible donor. But finding a compatible donor is not an easy task. So more and more cancer centers are now relying on umbilical cord blood for several reasons: better grafting, perfect compatibility, and a reliable source-yourself! Almost all cancer specialists prefer a perfect match.

Imagine having your own cells to regenerate your system back to normal. This is one of the concepts behind storing a child's umbilical cord blood. Perhaps someday in the future we will be able to use one of those stored umbilical cord blood cells from a child with diabetes, for example, to grow a new pancreas for the child. That's the promise of an exciting new field called regenerative medicine that we'll be hearing much about in the future.


Excerpted from The Checklist by Manny Alvarez Copyright © 2006 by Manny Alvarez. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Manny Alvarez, M.D., is a dedicated medical professional and pioneer of innovative advances in medical technology. For nearly a decade, Dr. Manny has served as Chairman of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Science at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey. He is also an adjunct professor of obstetrics and gynecology at New York University School of Medicine in New York City. Dr. Manny is one of the most popular contributors to the FOX News Channel. He appears regularly on Fox and Friends, Fox News Live, and DaySide. Born in Cuba, Dr. Manny lives in New Jersey and is married to his lovely wife, Katarina. They have three children: Rex, Ryan, and Olivia.

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Checklist: What You and Your Family Need to Know to Prevent Disease and Live a Long and Healthy Life 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Purchased this book in English and received it in Spanish. Customer Service said there was a problem and refunded my money.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I bought this book which was offered all in English but when I got it, it was all in Spanish, therefore worthless to me. Thank goodness it only cost $0.99.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I bought this book and read it in 4.5 hours. I have spent hundreds of dollars on medical books, most of which are just too medical, if you know what I mean. This book provides information to households with various age ranges -- each decade fits someone in my home, from my two toddlers to my teenage daughter, my husband and of course myself. It is smartly written and very easy to understand.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is by far, one of the best written preventative health books I have ever read. Smartly wirtten and a very easy read, this book will replace at least 8 titles on my current library everything you need to know is in this book. It will sit tightly alongside 'You the Owner's Manual' for quick reference when my body starts sending me signals or when my children seek relief.