Print Edition - 2014-01-25  |  On Saturday

Just what the doctor ordered


Jan 24, 2014-

The term ‘cardiovascular disease’ covers a wide spectrum of illnesses ranging from those with visible symptoms to those that kill silently. Given the kind of sedentary and unhealthy lifestyles that are becoming increasingly common in these modern times—particularly in urban areas—it is of little surprise then that our susceptibility to these illnesses is today more pronounced than ever. In such bleak circumstances, the role of timely preventive action cannot be overemphasised, achievable only through committed collaborations between a range of disciplines, a significant part of which is the effective education of patients. Cardiologist Dr Om Murti Anil’s book Ma Pani Doctor is an effort along those very lines, a book that opens up the complex world of health and diseases to the layman. 

For far too long have we undermined the consequences of the kind of gross mistreatment most of us subject our bodies to on a daily basis. An honest excavation of our ways will no doubt reveal how we’ve ignorantly pushed ourselves in the direction of ailment and anguish. Many of us have already seen loved ones fall into the unyielding clutches of illness, but still found it difficult to take the lessons offered by those misfortunes to heart. Clichéd as it might sound, however, prevention is always better than cure. Were we able to exert individual or collective willpower in drastically modifying our lifestyles, we could easily evade the myriad diseases that await at the door, but as human beings, we are flawed and generally find it hard to hang on to the reasoning and the motivation necessary to bring about positive changes in our daily habits. It is that reluctance that Ma Pani Doctor wants to amend—it hopes not only to arm readers with information but also afford them the push they need to take tangible actions. 

What Anil has done here is offer a comprehensive and meticulously prepared insight into various conditions, describing how these are caused, how they are seen to progress, and of course, listing means of preventing their onset. The text is accompanied by illustrations to render the concepts even more accessible to readers. Having seen my own parents develop an understanding of their bodily processes and the importance of healthy habits with such effortlessness as they have 

with the help of Ma Pani Doctor makes me wonder how many others have been similarly affected by Anil’s seminal book. 

Popular notions about diet and health practices are often dotted with inaccuracies, and this volume seeks to remedy that by providing accurate and easy-to-digest facts. And there is a certain hopeful air about Anil’s approach overall—while his first priority certainly appears to be to teach persons and communities ways in which to avoid becoming patients; even for those who are already struck with illness, he has a range of recommendations meant to minimise the toll of their conditions on their health—’It’s never too late,’ he seems to be implying.

What Ma Pani Doctor seems determined to do, overall, is encourage everyone to pick up on the hints our bodies are constantly throwing at us, to try to understand what these mean, and to take steps to deal with whatever problem they are pointing towards, as quickly as possible. Go through this book and soon enough, you could be telling your sweaty neighbour that it’s “time for a thyroid check-up”. It’s a volume that’s of particular advantage for medical students like myself, where we’re able to benefit from the nuggets of experience Anil has collected throughout his many years in the field. For the thorough research, accessible presentation of facts and sheer ability to engage and enlighten readers that the book boasts, it is one all health-conscious readers should pick up. 


Koirala is a fourth year student at the Institute of Medicine in Maharajgunj

Published: 25-01-2014 10:23

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