Sunday, April 29, 2007

Book Review - Doctor At Home by Dr John Daniel and Dr Jagjit Daniel

Dr John Daniel is a good friend of mine and lives in Bangalore. The most striking aspect about him is his affable demeanour and contagious sense of humour. He spends time reading and writing, besides of course watching TV and keeping up with current affairs.

He doesn't practise now, but has a keen eye on matters of health. He has authored a wonderful book: Doctor At Home, along with his wife Dr Jagjit Daniel. Though, naturally, it is not a substitute to an actual doctor at home, it comes very close to it; because, it answers a number of doubts we all have on health and fitness. It has a lot of tips and advices, and has been written keeping in mind the Indian medical scenario.

More on the book later. Before that, a little about a new passion he has just discovered. During the past few months, Dr Daniel has been exploring the new communication-publishing medium of weblog. Yesterday, he called me up to say that his blog is now up and running. Keep in touch with him at Funnylines.
Back to Doctor at Home.

May be you can call it the R-DEL approach: Right diet, right exercise, right lifestyle. Dr Daniel says if these three aspects are taken care of, 80 per cent of illnesses can be avoided. The book gives lots of interesting tips:

Diet: We are all hung upon calories, are we not? Dr Daniel says a healthy diet is more about eating right kind of food in right quantities. Those who are on weight-reducing diet should take lesser calories than what the body spends daily. If you check your weight over a week or two, you will know if the calorie intake is less, unchanged or excess, says Dr Daniel.

Exercise: What counts is not the amount of exercise but the regularity. Jog or walk briskly or just walk; or exercise in gym or play tennis -- but never overexert, says the doctor, because it is harmful. Any exercise, should involve deep breathing that pushes heart and lungs to work harder; for, that is the key to raising total body fitness.

Lifestyle: It’s defined as the general pattern of attitudes and behaviour you adopt through life, involving different aspects of living. A healthy lifestyle includes right diet and right exercise. Besides, it comprises proper immunization, hygiene, moderation and avoiding addictions, relaxation, closeness of family and shared love, regular medical check-ups, early treatment and safety precautions, says the doctor.

Your rights: Dr Daniel says patients should be aware of their responsibilities and rights. Doctors work under pressure in crowded hospitals under hectic schedules. So patients must cooperate with them. Patients should also make clear to the doctor that they would like an open, frank discussion before important steps are taken.

Dr Daniel says few people in our country are aware of their rights as patients. For good treatment, patients need to be informed about planned steps, to have their views heard and doubts cleared, and -- if they wish and if their condition permits -- to seek other opinions, says Dr Daniel.

First aid: It can often make a difference between life and death. Emergencies like chest pain, choking on food, fracture and head injuries can occur at any time in any family. Instead of throwing one’s hand up, at least one person in the family should be aware of first aid. Dr Daniel says first aid is so important that hospitals and NGOs should organise classes for the public.

“The earlier cancer is detected the better the chances of cure. The essential objective is not to ignore anything that is abnormal that happens in your body, particularly a growth, and wait for it to go away.”
“Plan your diet. Take plenty of (but not excess) of wheat, rice, vegetables and fruits. Take modest amounts of milk and milk products. Use minimum quantity of sugar and salt. Limit oil and other forms of fat, but using the unsaturated variety.”

(The above is an extract from my review of the book in The Times of India, Bangalore.)

-- Review of the book in The Hindu, in Deccan Herald, and in Hindu Businessline
-- Order the book from Indiatimes Shopping.

Doctor At Home by Dr John Daniel and Dr Jagjit Daniel is published by EastWest Books (Madras) Pvt Ltd, 571, P H Road, Aminjikarai, Chennai, 600029; 270 pages; Price Rs 275.


  1. Interesting! Thanks will get hold of it.

  2. perhaps i should buy..

    or may be i shuld restart exercising, than reading!