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Diseases of the Blood

disease, lungs, quality, iron, substances, food and receives

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DISEASES OF THE BLOOD.

In the immediately preceding section an effort has been made to emphasize the fact that the condition of the blood is affected in two ways: (1) by what is added to it, and (2) by what is taken from it. It has been pointed out that additions to it consist in what it re ceives from the alimentary canal in the shape of food, what it receives in the shape of lymph, what it receives in its course through the body from the tissues with which it comes in contact, and what it receives from the lungs in the shape of oxygen gas, not only nourishing substances, that is to say, but waste substances also ; and that substances are removed from it by the tissues for their nourishment, and by the lungs, liver and bowels, kidney and skin, to be cast out as waste matters. The importance of recalling these facts consists in this, that the causes of diseased conditions of the blood may be classed under two similar general divisions. For disease may be occasioned in the blood (1) by the nature of the food, by the lymph (by the absorption, for instance, of poisonous material from a wound, see p. 279), by substances picked up in the progress of the blood through diseased tissues, and by gases, &c., inhaled by the lungs; or (2), from the other side, by the lungs, kidneys, liver, bowels, or skin failing to separate waste matters, which are thus allowed to accumulate in the blood and impair its quality. The same thing is expressed, in a still more general way, by saying that disease of the blood may be due to something affecting (1) its quantity, and (2) its quality. Thus there may be too little blood in the body, in which case there arises the con dition of bloodlessness (antenzia) or poverty of blood, or there may be too much blood in the body (plethora), full-bloodedness ; while, again, the blood may be sufficient in amount but of bad quality, as it is in scurvy and other diseases. These considerations will be best understood by those who have carefully studied the description of the blood and its functions given in preceding pages.

We shall first consider the two diseases that have been named as connected specially with the quantity of blood, and afterwards those in which quality is directly affected.

Anaemia (Bloodlessness, Poverty of Blood).— The word anaemia is exactly translated by bloodlessness. It is derived from two GI eek words, an, want of, and haima, the blood. It ' essentially consists in a deficiency of blood, and ' specially of certain of its constituents, the cor puscles and albuminous elements. So marked is the diminution in the number of corpuscles in typical cases that it may be recognized in a drop viewed under the microscope. (See Plate IV.) One form of it is specially a disease of young women, and is called chlorosis (Greek, chloros, green) or green-sickness, because of the peculiar hue of the skin produced by it.

The condition may be produced by loss of blood, in young women, for example, by exces sive discharge during the monthly periods, or in persons subject to bleeding piles, by bad or insufficient diet, and by other diseases, such as *neer, tubercular disease, and syphilis, and by various other causes not well understood.

Its symptoms are paleness of the skin--the pallor being strikingly marked in those parts which are naturally ruddy, such as the lips,— weakness, attacks of faintness and bredlidess ness, palpitation, giddiness, loss of appetite, flatulence and indigestion, quick weak pulse, and nervous symptoms, such as lowness of spirits, listlessness, irritability of temper, neu ralgia, &c. In girls hysterical attacks are common. Two noticeable symptoms are head ache and impairment of sight.

Treatment, except in pernicious forms of the disease, is usually successful. It consists in arresting any unusual loss of blood, in the use of proper and sufficient food, and in atten tion to other ordinary conditions of health, good air, exercise, sleep, &c. The principal drug given in the disease is iron. This may be given in the ordinary way with quinine, as quinine and iron tonic, or in pill combined with phosphorus and mix vomica (see p. 169). Chemical food may also be used, and other similar preparations, beef and iron wine, &c. A valuable preparation is that of dialysed iron, of which 10 to 15 drops are taken in water four or five times daily.

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