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RHEUMATIC GOUT. (Rheumatic Arthritis. Arthritis Deformans)
Category: Constitutional Diseases
occurs most often from thirty to fifty-five, usually in women, generally
at or after the change of life, and most frequently in those who have not
had children. The involvement of the joints is most common in adult males.
Exciting cause may be: Exposure to cold and wet, improper food, unhygienic
surroundings, worry, blows and acute infections.
Conditions. Several joints are usually involved symmetrically. At the
edge of the joints there is formation of new bone covered with cartilage,
causing the enlargement of the bone and often partial loss of motion in
Symptoms. Several distinct types exist. 1. General progressive types
which may be acute or chronic.
Acute. This occurs usually in women from twenty to thirty and at the
change of life. It comes on like acute joint rheumatism, many joints being
affected, permanent enlargement appearing early, redness of the joints
rarely existing, the pain being very severe, some fever, feel very tired,
with anemia, loss of flesh and strength. The first and later attacks are
often associated with pregnancy, confinement or nursing.
Chronic Type. There is a gradual onset of pain or stiffness in one or
more joints, usually of the fingers, then of the corresponding joints of
the other side and then other joints. The swelling at first may be in the
soft parts of the joints with effusion in the joints and tenderness. The
pain varies from slight to severe. Periods of improvement and getting
worse alternate; the joints becoming enlarged and deformed, often nearly
stiff in partial bending on account of the thickened bone and soft
tissues. The muscles that move the joint dwindle and there may be changes
in the skin and nails of the parts affected due to the want of proper
nourishment. Disturbances of the stomach and anemia are common. The heart
is not affected. There may be only a few joints affected, or many, with
great deformity, before the disease reaches the period of inactivity.
2. Monarticular or one joint type. This usually occurs in males over
fifty; one joint or a few large joints may be affected, generally with
shrinking of the corresponding muscles. If it occurs in the hip it is
called Morbus Coxae Senilis,--Hip joint disease in the aged.
Recovery. The disease usually goes on with intervals of improvement and
often results in great crippling and disability. In some cases it becomes
General Treatment. The climate should be warm and dry. The patient should
avoid exposing himself; lead a general hygienic life, with as nourishing
food as his digestion will permit. The chief line of treatment should be
to improve the general health and relieve the pain. The stomach, bowels,
and kidneys should be kept working well. Nourishing food should be taken,
but its effect must be watched. Cod-liver oil to build up the system, iron
and arsenic may be of value. Sometimes iodide of potash is good. Early and
thorough treatment at Hot Springs offers the best hope of arresting its
progress, the Hot Springs in Bath County, Va., and in Arkansas. Much can
be done at home by hot air baths, hot baths, and compresses at night to
the tender joints.
Local. Massage carefully given is helpful. The hot air treatment is good.
Baking the joints is now frequently done.
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