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Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/2062

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Purgatives containing bitter aloes and other irritants of the lower bowel should be avoided.

Heart Disease is a complaint which, like cancer, is too serious and difficult to permit of self -treatment. If there is any suspicion of its existence, if there is shortness of breath, pain over the heart or running down the left arm, any labouring or irregularity in the heart's action, medical advice should be sought and carried out.

Jaundice, though often spoken of as a disease, is not a disease by itself but only a symptom common to many disorders of the liver.

Liver Complaints.—The liver, like the kidneys and other organs, is liable to various acute and chronic diseases. Amongst the acute changes may be classed catarrh, or inflammation of the bile ducts, acute atrophy of the liver, congestion and inflammation of the liver, and the presence of gall-stones in the hepatic duct.

Catarrh of the Liver.Symptoms.—Jaundice, loss of appetite, coated tongue, slight sickness and a feeling of retching; the motions are pale, the urine dark, the skin and eyes become yellow, and there may be, in some cases, a troublesome itching of the skin. The pain is not in itself a very troublesome symptom, and it is generally felt, if at all, in the right shoulder-blade and along the lower edge of the liver, and is often worse on pressure.

Treatment.—The best treatment is first to open the bowels freely; a dose of calomel at night followed by a saline draught in the morning will generally suffice. The diet must be very light, and capable of being easily digested; all rich food should be avoided, while milk, broth, beef-tea, toast and biscuits, or a light pudding, may be taken. No stimulants should be given, as they tend to increase the congestion of the liver. Effervescing solutions may be given with benefit, since they allay thirst and sickness; those which contain soda salts are the best, and those also which have an aperient action; for this reason effervescing Carlsbad waters are often beneficial. In 3 or 4 days a mixture containing extract of dandelion, hydrochloric acid and gentian may be given 3 times a day. The bowels must be kept open daily. Active exercise should be taken every day, if the patient can bear it; and for some time after recovery care must be taken to avoid indigestible food.

A "sluggish" or congested Liver is generally associated with catarrh of the bile ducts, and arises often from want of exercise, and excess in eating and drinking; but congestion may develop to inflammation in tropical countries, and end in the formation of an abscess. This may be known by the pain over the region of the liver, the swelling of the abdominal wall on that spot, and the frequent shiverings; the patient loses flesh, strength and appetite, and his skin becomes of a sallow tint. People who have suffered from this complaint generally come back to this country invalided, and if they recover from the illness, they seldom regain their former state of health. Regular exercise, and a plain and sparing diet, are the best preventatives.