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The Resort Treatment Of Chronic Heart Disease
Source: Disturbances Of The Heart
In line with the continued growing popularity of special resorts and
special cures for different types of disease, resort or sanatorium
treatment for chronic heart disease has grown to considerable
popularity during the last twenty years or more. The most popular of
these resorts owe their success to the personality of the
physicians, who have made heart disease a life study.
Perhaps the most noted of these resorts for the cure of heart
disease is that at Bad Nauheim, Germany, which was inaugurated by
Dr. August Schott and Prof. Theodore Schott, and is now conducted by
the latter, Dr. August Schott having died about fifteen years ago.
Hundreds of patients and many physicians have testified to the value
and benefit of the treatment carried out at this institution.
The method of treatment largely employed at these heart resorts is
to withdraw all, or nearly all, of the active drugs that the patient
may be taking, and to substitute physical and physiologic methods of
therapy. These include bathing, regulation of the diet, and
exercise. This exercise consists of two varieties: exercise of the
muscles against the resistance of an attendant, and exercise by
walking on inclined planes or up hills. The treatment is aimed at
chronic heart disease, to develop a greater cardiac reserve
strength; the whole object of the treatment is to strengthen the
myocardium, either in conditions of its debility or in conditions of
diminished compensation in valvular disease. Any treatment that will
develop a reserve heart strength to be called on in emergencies,
more or less similar to the reserve strength of a normal heart,
tends to prolong the patient's life and health.
Patients with acute heart failure or acute loss of compensation,
with more or less serious edemas, should rarely take the risk of
traveling any distance to be treated at an institution. As a general
rule they are better treated for a few weeks or months at home.
After the broken compensation is repaired, a reserve strength of the
heart may well be developed by a visit to one of these institutions,
if the patient can afford it.
The Oertel treatment consists chiefly in diminishing the fluids
taken into the body, and in graduated mountain climbing. By
diminishing the fluids taken, the work of the heart is diminished,
as the blood vessels are not overfilled and may be even underfilled.
The diet is carefully regulated with the object of removing all
superfluous fat from the body. The third leg of the tripod of the
Oertel treatment is the gradually increasing hill and mountain
climbing to educate the heart by graded muscular training to become
strong, perfectly compensatory, and later to develop a reserve
strength. This particular cure is especially adapted to the obese,
who have weakened heart muscles.
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