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Bodily and Mental Exercise

gout, life, system, lithiasis, allied, active, articular and muscular


The neglect of muscular exercise is, indeed, one of the most po tent causes of gout. Even in cases that do not reach the final stage of articular crises, the lack of exercise often leads to the development of the allied disorders and premonitory symptoms of the disease. Obesity and lithiasis are of frequent occurrence among women and among men who indulge their appetites while leading a sedentary life. Such people suffer with dyspepsia, constipation. hemorrhoids, asthma, bronchitis, headache, neuralgia, flushing of the face, loss of memory, incapacity to fix the attention, universal debility of mind and body. Somnolence after meals and insomnia at night are among the common experiences of such patients. So long as youthful vigor remains, these conditions may be temporarily dispelled by a resort to active exercise and elimination. A season at Saratoga or Carls bad, a course of mountain climbing, or a fishing excursion along the sea-coast will for a time postpone the evil day; but, if the injudicious system of alimentation be not radically reformed, the advance of years will destroy the inclination to activity, and a weakened heart or a contracting kidney will finally render all forms of prolonged muscular exercise impossible, through the establishment of the arthritic dia thesis, if not through the actual manifestation of articular gout. This is the condition into which so many fine ladies and men of high standing in the professional and commercial classes have insensibly descended, without knowledge of the true character of their malady. Under the influence of sedentary habits and advancing years, fatigue of every variety becomes an exciting cause of gout. Long walks and unusual muscular exertion are frequently followed, in predisposed persons, by an outbreak of articular inflammation. It is probable that under such circumstances the joint or joints become overcharged with the acid products of active exercise, so that the circulating fluids in the affected tissues cannot hold the urates in solution, and they are at once precipitated upon the spot, and there serve to excite in flammation. But similar consequences may follow upon the occur rence of fatigue of a more general character. Venereal excesses have always been accused of producing gloomy results in gouty subjects. Even among comparatively young people, if they have acquired the arthritic predisposition, a course of debauchery is very liable to induce the disease. This may be in part the result of the intemperance in

eating and drinking that so frequently accompanies this form of dis sipation; but a certain appreciable influence is unquestionably due to the exhaustion that follows the act of copulation under such condi tions. Among elderly people there can be no doubt regarding the disastrous effects of such exercises. After middle life, as the indi vidual enters the sixth decade of years, he must practise temperance in all things if lie would not find himself gradually sinking into gout or its minor manifestations or allied maladies.

In like manner, great intellectual exercises ; grief, anger, disap pointment, or any form of psychical disturbance, may operate to favor the development of gout. As in the analogous over-exertion of the nervous system that accompanies the venereal act, these violent explosions of cerebral and spinal protoplasm serve to depress the functions of assimilation and nutrition, to retard the process of oxi elation in the tissues, and to hinder the evacuation of uric acid through the kidneys. The system may thus become overcharged with urates, and the various phenomena of gout are developed. The allied dis eases, lithiasis and diabetes, are not infrequently fostered by the same cause; hence the common occurrence of these nutritional disorders among men who are active in political and commercial life. Strong in body, energetic, and successful in the accumulation of money, they indulge their appetites, and with advancing years do not learn to restrain their desires. Finally, reverses meet them, and anxieties without number leave them no opportunity for rest. Under the in fluence of these excitements, all the functions of nutrition, from mas tication to evacuation of the bladder and rectum, fall into disorder. The inevitable consequences are indigestion, gastro-intestinal fermen tation, acid dyscrasia, retarded oxidation, phosphaturia, oxaluria, mellituria, lithiasis, nephritis, asthma, bronchitis, neuralgia, neuras thenia, melancholia, gout—one or more or all developed, in succes sion or together, in the person of the prematurely old man. Thus it is that so many brilliant and successful men have been driven from public life, and have been compelled to pass what should have been their best days in obscurity and inaction.