Dr. B. Shyam Sundar Raj Lung Care And Long Life,
Vamsi Art Printers , Hyderabad, 2012, pages 172, Paper Back
First things first: one should know how to use this book. To know about the best way to use this book the reader must read this first. There are fifty three chapters here all very brief but not all are intelligible to all. Nor all are necessary for common readers. At the beginning, one should mark the needed one. Chapter 53 is a good guide. It gives information about the way to get better medical care. Basically they are the best guide lines which show what to do and secondly only the educated can decide how to go about doing things.
The illustrations, diagrams, and x-ray pictures can be used when their need is decided. This can be known by the very educated
Good doctors are identified as those who treat people and bad ones are those who only treat cases. This is in the context of sociology being used in the study of diseases in the humans. This book under review is Book on Health Awareness. In the US several decades ago Kaiser Permanente circulated free of cost to their members A Self-Care Guide for You and Your Family. That has been a laudable effort. Since many recent decades students in medical colleges are being taught strategies to impart health care information of preventive and social medicine. Thus from the learning stages social medicine is being drilled in the students.
Shyam Sunder Raj has rendered great service in educating general public about lung care and long life. Tuberculosis is one of the diseases that has been spreading fast in our country owing to many reasons, one being poor hygiene, lack of education, poverty and a bad habit like smoking. Being a practising pulmonologist Dr Raj with a deep and specialized study and extensive clinical practice thought it his duty to educate the public in this subject.
The book has fifty-five brief chapters right from the basics like oxygen and breathing up to respiratory emergencies, explaining in the process the need of physical exercise. Exposure to the young the facts of amelioration of the lung problems helps them acquire wisdom making them convinced that tackling problems needs understanding situations first.
The book has many diagrams and x-ray illustrations to make the readers acquire first rate information not that the readers can understand all. But, in case they need such information, they can use that book. Things like sneezing and yawning are explained in detail. The author’s style is reader friendly and the whole book is eminently readable. After going into various beliefs about sneezing and talking about ‘histamine’ a chemical substance released exciting the nerve, Dr Raj concludes the chapter saying: “Keeping aside all these beliefs, it is better to consider sneezing as a warning signal and guard ourselves against infections of all kinds in these days of pollution and infections.” (p.40)
People are offered cautious pieces of advice by the author. Some times patients try short cuts when they are in trouble. Having waited for some days, they think a mere phone call can bring relief. But this author gives warnings even to educated callers seeking advice. “Consultation over telephone is not all advisable.” (p.90) It is better to first look up books like Healthwise Hand Books.
This book is particularly useful to the well-educated to be shown to those seeking knowledge. There is a chapter on Smoking which is proved to be the root cause of respiratory disorders. Tuberculosis and lung ailments are umpteen. During the last decades medical knowledge in that area has progressed very fast. Park’s Text Book of Preventive and Social Medicine – has gone into 23rd edition in which it is stated that extensive work is going on in MDR-TB investigations and treatment in different situations, e.g., adult tuberculosis, paediatric cases, TB with HIV/AIDS during pregnancy etc.
Dr. Raj has done what he thought best would help the enthusiastic first in Telugu and later went ahead and did it in English. This work is the enthusiast’s effort to bring awareness about respiratory troubles and problems of the common man and to the common public. As the veteran Prof Kakarla Subbarao, former director of NIMS, Hyderabad wrote “One should not only read the book, but also spread the message of lung care to the family members, relatives and employees.”