Sauld Pb: A Latina's Guide to Total Health - Body, Mind, and Spirit


For reasons ranging from the cultural to the physiological, Latinas have unique concerns when it comes to their health: they metabolize drugs differently, are more likely to develop cervical cancer, have a higher rate of diabetes, and are more likely to die from liver disease than other ethnic groups. Yet despite the fact that Hispanics are the fastest-growing population in America, very few resources address their special health needs.

Salud! is the first comprehensive ...

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For reasons ranging from the cultural to the physiological, Latinas have unique concerns when it comes to their health: they metabolize drugs differently, are more likely to develop cervical cancer, have a higher rate of diabetes, and are more likely to die from liver disease than other ethnic groups. Yet despite the fact that Hispanics are the fastest-growing population in America, very few resources address their special health needs.

Salud! is the first comprehensive reader-friendly health guide specifically designed with the Hispanic woman in mind. The first part of the book examines the problems Latinas often face in the new health care system, arming them with the real-life strategies they need to overcome them. Part two looks at female health problems from a Hispanic perspective, offering expert advice and the most up-to-date findings. Part three covers the diseases and disorders to which Latinas are especially vulnerable, and part four focuses on helping them maintain their health and achieve overall wellness.

Sensitively written by a Latina health care professional and featuring a combination of state-of-the-art medicine, advice, and anecdotes from Latinas, Salud! emphasizes a practical approach to staying healthy that is geared to Hispanic tastes and values. It is the guide the Latina community has been waiting for.

"...addresses the health care concerns specific to the Latina community, explaining prevention and treatment, as well as taking into account religious and spiritual beliefs that may affect their views on health."

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060951870
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/1/1997
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 7.42 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 1.06 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Being a Latina

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 espiritu 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 new behaviors 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 Latinasexperience and at the same time are reluctant to speak about. Many of the Latinas I spoke to were pleased and relieved to see that espiritu (spirit) 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.
From the discussions of espiritu 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.
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Table of Contents

1 Beyond Aguantar: Valuing Ourselves 3
2 Body, Mind, and Espiritu 16
3 Where the Traditional Meets the Conventional: Lo Mejor ... The Best 27
4 Controlling Our Own Fertility: Just the Facts 43
5 Sexuality and Pleasure 56
6 Common Problems 70
7 When Having a Biological Child Is Difficult 89
8 Pregnancy 100
9 Menopause: De Mujer a Mujer ... From Woman to Woman 120
10 Alcoholism Is a Disease 135
11 Arthritis Is a Symptom: "Me Duelen los Huesos" ... "My Bones Hurt" 148
12 Cancer 160
13 Depression: More Than Being Blue 191
14 Diabetes 208
15 Heart Disease: "Me Duele el Corazon" ... "My Heart Hurts" 220
16 HIV/AIDS 236
17 Liver Disease 249
18 Sexually Transmitted Diseases: The Silent Epidemic 260
19 Eating for Health and Pleasure: Salud con Gusto ... Health with Pleasure 273
20 The Body We Have ... The Body We Want 285
21 Exercises Are a Must-Do: "Tengo Que Hacerlo" ... "I Have to Do It" 297
22 The Best Medicines 312
23 Taking Care of Our Families: Nuestras Familias ... Our Families 325
24 Nuestro Mundo ... Our World 339
A Latinas Who Influenced This Book 351
B Health Journal, Visit Summary, and Chart of Basal Body Temperature 357
C Making Our Voices Heard 361
D National Health Information Clearinghouses 367
Index 371
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