Burgs Sunday book review
Reviewed by Carl McDaniels of Blacksburg. He is retired from the Virginia Tech Counselor Education program and is a past president of the Blacksburg AARP.
“Rethinking Aging: Growing Old and Living Well in an Over Treated Society” is a great book for anyone over the age of 50 to read or for those who care about relatives or friends over 50. All readers will gain new insights into the 21st Century aging process. Many of the issues covered in the book are ripped from the daily news reports or headlines, such as the over-treating of prostate cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer as well as many other controversial health issues of vital interest to baby boomers reaching retirement age. In short, this book should help all readers to be better informed citizens about vital health concerns.
So, what makes this such a great book? Here are a couple of reasons: The author is an old-fashioned scholar, an experienced physician with 35 years of experience as a medical school faculty member and mentor. He is currently professor of medicine and microbiology/immunology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and attending rheumatologist at UNC Hospitals. His goal is to educate the public. He is also an accomplished author. His other books include “The Last Well person: How to stay Well Despite the Health Care System,” which focuses on the over medicalization of the public and “Type II Medical Malpractice; Worried Sick: A Prescription for Health in an Over-treated America;” and “Stabbed in the Back: Confronting Back Pain in an Over-treated Society.”
In “Rethinking Aging,” Hadler takes a hard look at the choices in health care that we have access to as aging Americans and offers the argument that many times the choices we have to make only serves to line the pocket of the provider rather than benefit the patient, leading to the “medicalization” of everyday ailments and blatant overtreatment. Hadler wants his reader to have the knowledge, based on evidence, to be able to make the best decision possible when it comes to health issues.
The book is well-organized and detailed, with chapters like: “Enlighten Aging, Stayin’ Alive”, “The Aging Worker,” “Decrepitude,” and “Fatality.” This is not just an author trying to earn tenure by publishing books or one who is on his “soap box.” This 250 page book has over 31 pages of well researched references published in the leading medical journals to support the points the author is making in the book. Hadler is a truly gifted writer – even the preface is interesting when he shares the story of his immigrant father who was valedictorian at the prestigious Boston Latin High School. This automatically assured him admission to Harvard University and against all odds he eventually completed Harvard Medical School, setting the stage for his son Nortin to do the the same. He combines his medical experiences gained over a lifetime with his wide knowledge of the research in the field. He has a genuine concern for the reader’s best interests. He avoids cheap excuses for things going on in his chosen field of work. He deals directly with most of the major medical issues facing all of us in the 21st Century.
In the end, he urges his readers to face some of the realities of the day and realize that most people will have to deal with some major health concerns. If you are over 80 years of age, you are one of the lucky ones to outpace the trend. After all, we are ALL going to die — even the biblical figure Methuselah died eventually.
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