Excerpt: 'YOU: The Owner's Manual'

To do that, we want you to think of your body as a home -- as your home. When we started thinking about the similarities between bodies and homes, we realized that the two have a more striking resemblance than the Olsen twins. Your house and body are both important investments. They both provide shelter to invaluable personal property. And they're both places you want to protect with all your power. That's the big picture. But if we explore the comparison even more -- and we will throughout this book -- you'll understand the relationship even better. Your bones are the two-by-fours that support and protect the inner structure of your home; your eyes are the windows; your lungs are the ventilation ducts; your brain is the fuse box; your intestines are the plumbing system; your mouth is the food processor; your heart is the water main; your hair is the lawn (some of us have more grass than others); and your fat is all the unnecessary junk you've stored in the attic that your spouse has been nagging you to get rid of. If you can get past the fact that your forehead doesn't have a street number and that a two-story brick Colonial doesn't look all that good in a bathing suit, the similarities are remarkable -- so remarkable, in fact, that we believe you can learn about how your body works by thinking about how your house does.

And that's really the, uh, foundation for this book: Knowing your body gives you the power to change it, maintain it, decorate it, and strengthen it. In each chapter, we'll start by explaining the anatomy of your body's major organs. To do that, we'll take you inside -- and show you how your body's organs operate and interact with each other. We won't do it in doctor-speak, but we also won't treat you like you're a fourth-grader. We're not going to make the science simplistic; we're going to make it simple. From there, we're going to tell you how to make your organs function better -- so you can prevent disease and live a younger, healthier life. We'll show you how disease starts, how it affects your body, and how you can learn to fend off and beat problems and conditions that can threaten not only your life but also your quality of life.

To return to the house analogy, we want you to take the same approach to basic body maintenance and repairs as you do in your home. You don't call the plumber if you have a little backup in your pipes. You try a plunger, lift the back off the toilet and fiddle with the floating ball, and try to remedy the problem yourself. You don't call the exterminator when you spot a fly in the kitchen. You don't call the electrician if a light bulb burns out. You rely on yourself for maintaining control over how your house ages -- because you know that it's less expensive to prevent problems and treat minor ones than let everything deteriorate to the point where your house needs a major overhaul to continue functioning properly.

Ultimately, we want you to get comfortable enough with your own body so that you'll feel confident with basic body maintenance, so that you'll avoid the things that cause the most wear and tear and do the things that best maintain the long-term value of your body.

Excerpted with permission from "YOU: The Owner's Manual," by Michael F. Roizen, Mehmet Oz. Copyright © May 2005, HarperResource .

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