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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Joyce E. Dains, DrPH, RN, CS (Baylor College of Medicine)
Description: This is a comprehensive reference for all aspects of women's health, designed as a resource for women who make healthcare decisions. It covers topics from health maintenance concerns to reproductive health and common health problems.
Purpose: Although the emphasis is on health maintenance through disease prevention and health promotion, it helps readers understand how disease affects the body and how and when to obtain medical care.
Audience: This book is for women who are consumers of healthcare and who have no medical background or training. It is written by women physicians and health providers.
Features: Several of the chapters give resource lists that are opportunities for more information or avenues for health assistance. The chapter "Accidents and Emergencies" is a practical, easy-to-follow guide for prevention and first aid. The table of contents is less useful than the appendix in accessing information on a particular topic. Although the body systems approach makes sense to the authors, it is less logical for nonmedical readers. The text is well presented visually, with illustrations that are easy to understand and interpret.
Assessment: The book delivers more and less than it promises. The section on the "Healthy Body" covers a wide range of common conditions and disorders that are not woman-specific, making this text useful for other family members. However, this is not a resource for "all women." The sophisticated language and high readability index may be a barrier for some. In some instances the text falls short; for example, the discussion of hormone replacement therapy was scattered over several sections and ultimately proved disappointing. Nonetheless, this is a marvelous addition to the home reference book shelf. The breadth and scope are excellent and the depth of coverage is usually on target. I would recommend it to many of my patients, women and men.