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Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/2064

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symptom, and, when general, will frequently point to disease in the kidneys.

Treatment.—The chief attention must be given to the diet, and all indigestible foods avoided. If dropsy be present purgatives must be given to remove the fluid, and the general health must be kept up by tonic medicines, such as iron and quinine.

Waxy degeneration of the Liver is a less frequent disease. It rarely, if ever, occurs alone, and is generally associated with similar disease in the kidneys, spleen and intestines. It occurs in persons who have long suffered from diseased joints and chronic abscesses and in scrofulous subjects. Practically the only special symptom is obvious enlargement of the liver; and its treatment is included in that of the chronic disease with which it is associated.

Passive congestion of the Liver often occurs in heart disease and some disorders of the lungs, arising from the fact that since the course of the circulation is disturbed at these points the veins become too full all over the body, and the hepatic vein sharing in this fulness the liver gets stuffed with blood, and so the stream flows through too sluggishly. From a similar cause the veins in the leg and kidney are over-filled, resulting in dropsy of the lower extremities, and a scanty flow of urine, which will contain a variable amount of albumin. Pain over the liver will be present, and, frequently, there is some yellowness of skin from the presence of jaundice. After a time dropsy of the abdominal cavity may come on, with fatal results.

Treatment.—Since passive congestion of the liver results from the disease of the heart or lungs, the treatment must be directed to allaying any tumultuous or irregular action of the heart, and to removing any dropsy by purgatives or small punctures in the leg.

Syphilis will produce various changes in the liver, and cause a hardening of that organ and thickening of the capsule. Sometimes rounded masses, somewhat resembling cancer, are met with in the organ.

Treatment.—The health, in such cases, must be improved by a visit to the seaside, if possible, or a sea voyage, by liberal diet and regularity of living. Preparations containing iron and quinine are valuable, and may be given in conjunction with iodide of potassium.

Hydatid cysts occur more commonly in the liver than in any other organ, although they are by no means very often met with. They may occur in the liver either as small, round and firm tumours, formed of a fibrous capsule, with putty-like contents these are hydatid cysts which have undergone spontaneous cure, and can do no more harm; or as cysts with a tough, fibrous capsule, enclosing a quantity of fluid, and a greater or less number of smaller cysts floating about in them. These cysts may attain a great size; they are seldom attended with pain, unless there is inflammation outside setting up adhesions. The general health is seldom affected, so that the nature of the disease