Salud: A Latina's Guide to Total Health

Salud: A Latina's Guide to Total Health

by Jane L. Delgado, National Hispanic Women's Health Initiative Staff

Featuring NEW resource lists of relevant books and NEW hotlines and organizations that help keep Latinas informed and healthy, this revised edition of Salud, compiled by a leading women's health care advocate and with authoritative guidance from the National Hispanic Women's Health Initiative, addresses with great sensitivity the special concerns of Latinas

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Featuring NEW resource lists of relevant books and NEW hotlines and organizations that help keep Latinas informed and healthy, this revised edition of Salud, compiled by a leading women's health care advocate and with authoritative guidance from the National Hispanic Women's Health Initiative, addresses with great sensitivity the special concerns of Latinas — physiological, cultural, and spiritual. This essential resource discusses:

  • How to become a smarter health care consumer
  • How religious and spiritual traditions affect the way Latinas view their health
  • Prevention and treatment of the diseases that most commonly affect Latinas, such as diabetes, cervical cancer, and depression
  • Sexuality and reproductive health, from a Latina perspective
  • The essential roles of diet and lifestyle in preventing health problems

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Latinas often feel left out of the healthcare system. They are more likely to have diabetes, heart disease, sexually transmitted diseases, and depression than non-Latinas and less likely to have health insurance. Delgado, a clinical psychologist who is the head of the National Alliance for Hispanic Health and the National Hispanic Women's Health Initiative, has revised her 1997 work, -Salud!: A Latina's Guide to Total Health-Body, Mind, and Spirit. Unlike most women's health books, including the politically empowering Our Bodies, Ourselves for the New Century (Touchstone, 1998), this one is written by Hispanic women, for Hispanic women. It provides the latest scientific and medical information about sexuality, pregnancy, contraception, menopause, and sexually transmitted diseases, as well as advice about nutrition, fitness, and mental health. It also covers alcoholism, arthritis, cancer, diabetes, and liver disease. Each chapter has a list of current resources, including organizations, books, pamphlets, and web sites. Personal histories are interspersed with the information, giving the book a more intimate tone. The author honors Hispanic culture throughout by stressing the importance of spirituality, alternative therapies, and family relationships in daily life. Easy to understand and full of useful information, -Salud! is highly recommended for all collections. Barbara M. Bibel, Oakland P.L. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
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Product dimensions:
7.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Beyond Aguantar
Valuing Ourselves

I enjoy being a Latina.

When I talk about Hispanic women, I treasure the intimacy and warmth that the word Latina conveys, and I reserve the gender-neutral Hispanic, rather than the masculine Latino, for discussions that include males.

Latinas are unique. Each one of us is deeply affected by our collective cultural experiences, the languages many of us speak, and the complexity of relationships within our families. How we define ourselves sets us apart from non-Latinas.

Salud is an affirmation of who we are and recognizes what the scientific research clearly shows -- that many of our health issues are unique and sometimes different from those of the majority population, and that to improve our health requires a new approach to wellness. This Latina approach is evident throughout the four major sections of the book: Being a Latina, Being Female, Enfermedades (Diseases), and Para Vivir Bien (Living Well).

“Being a Latina” explains why the mind and espíritu (spirit) are part of the health of Latinas. How we Latinas care for ourselves begins with the mind-set of where we place our individual needs within the priorities created by our relationships with our families.

For a Latina, a healthy self-esteem is the first step in the direction of taking care of her health. At the outset this means that we have to learn how to set limits. The steps involved in developing new attitudes and newbehaviors help us to accept that we must take care of our own health.

At the same time, for Latinas, health is about more than just our body and mind. Our spirit is something Latinas experience and at the same time are reluctant to speak about. Many of the Latinas I spoke to were pleased and relieved to see that espíritu would be discussed throughout the book. Their view of other self care books was that they were at the extremes -- either too scientific or too spiritual. For Latinas, there needs to be a balance among the body, mind, and spirit.

Just as important for Latinas is to find a way to integrate conventional and traditional medicine within the context of the evolving health care environment. Where once we sought all the answers from our health care providers, increasingly those providers are expecting us to be able to make decisions about our own health. We need skills to help us monitor our own health in a systematic manner, be prepared for our visit to our health care provider, understand our health plans, and know our rights and responsibilities as consumers of health care.

“Being Female” covers all the available information on maintaining a healthy reproductive system throughout our lives. The facts on pregnancy, infertility, menopause, and sexuality are provided within a context that Latinas will find useful and constructive. Some of the stories will make you laugh, while others will help you understand that you are not alone in your pain.

“Enfermedades (Diseases)” focuses on the conditions that are of most concern to Latinas -- alcoholism, arthritis, breast cancer, cervical cancer, depression, diabetes, heart disease, HIV/AIDS, liver disease, and sexually transmitted diseases. Each chapter shares the stories of Latinas and provides the most up-to-date information on diagnosis and treatment. At the end of each chapter is a discussion of how the condition affects the mind and the spirit.

“Para Vivir Bien (Living Well)” documents what we have to do in order to live healthy lives. The focus is on taking care of yourself by eating well, managing your weight, exercising, and using medicines properly. And, of course, no book for Latinas would be complete without a discussion of how we take care of our parents and other older family members. The final chapter on the environment helps us recognize threats to our clean water, clean air, and safe food supply that are not due to bioterrorism.

From the discussions of espíritu to the food we eat, the needs and experiences of Latinas frame the way information is presented. For Latinas, reading Salud is our first step toward taking care of ourselves.

I was talking to some of my friends about all the things I had to do now that I had to take care of my mother. She was getting older and could not live by herself. I had rearranged my schedule and worked it out so that I could take care of her daily needs. My friend Helga looked at me and said, “That is so nice that you take care of your mother.”

I remember being surprised at her comment and thinking how being a Latina made me different. Nice was not the word I had in mind to describe the reasons that motivated me to take care of my mother. I knew what was expected of me culturally, even though there were no support systems in the non-Latina environment where I worked and lived.

Taking care of my mother was neither a matter of choice nor an obligation. It was like breathing -- something I knew I would do as part of my life.

-- Rosa, 56

Who We Are

When we look at ourselves in the mirror, we may see the differences. When we enter a room and make eye contact with one of our own, some of us affirm our cultural bonds while others make believe that they can blend in.

As Latinas, we are not surprised to find out that when information was finally available about some of our health problems it showed that we are often different from non-Hispanic white women and non-Hispanic black women. And sometimes this means that care and treatment may be different for us than it is for non-Latinas.

Our bodies come in an assortment of shapes, although they tend to be shorter and heavier than those of non-Latinas. Our emotions are often more pronounced and evident than they are for others. Our sense of espíritu (spirit) guides us through difficult times. When...

Salud. Copyright © by Jane L. Delgado. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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