In Vol. 1, page 510, of Every Woman's En-cyclopaedia children's rheumatism was briefly discussed, in order to point out the importance of at once attending to even the slightest forms of rheumatism in childhood. Diet was specially mentioned, because there is no doubt that it plays a most important part in the treatment of rheumatism. There are people who are rheumatic, gouty, and dyspeptic as well, whose sufferings could be considerably reduced, if not altogether removed, by proper diet. The commonest form of rheumatism is what is called chronic rheumatism, which causes a good deal of pain and suffering, and, later, deformity of the joints, with very little disturbance of the general health. The different forms, causes, and treatment of rheumatism will be considered under "Common Ailments and Their Treatment." In this article we are dealing with the common variety which afflicts a good many people after middle life. Anyone who has suffered from rheumatism knows that it is worse in damp weather, whether in summer or winter, and that it is very much affected by diet. The idea that it is a disease entirely of the winter months is erroneous. Rheumatic people feel its twinges all the year round, and know that certain indulgences, and heavy meals, will have to be paid for in full measure afterwards. Of late years the exclusion of meat from the dietary has been recommended in the treatment of chronic rheumatism, whilst at the same time sugar and alcohol should be given up. The diet has then to be uric acid free, in the sense that albuminous foods which do not produce uric acid must be eaten, which is certainly an important factor in rheumatic conditions. The first thing is to exclude meat, and to take in its place cheese, which is safer for the rheumatic individual. Give up all sweet and rich dishes, heavy meat meals, alcohol, strong tea, and coffee. The diet is thus fairly free from the substances which are poison to anyone with a rheumatic tendency. One cup of weak China tea per day may be permitted, whilst D 26 variety is ensured by the milk, cereals, vegetables, eggs, nuts, and fruits which are allowed. Modern vegetarian cooking has taught us a good deal concerning the daintiness and taste-fulness of vegetables with cheese, whilst vegetable soups, stewed fruit, savouries, and desserts provide sufficient variety for any dinner.
A Slave to Diet
If you are rheumatic or gouty, you are probably dyspeptic, and attention to diet is all the more necessary. There is no reason, however, that you should be what opponents call " a slave to diet." You may take fresh fish, tripe, and chicken occasionally. You may even indulge in a cutlet or slice of lamb. The great point is to regulate the diet so that you have flesh food only two or three times a week, whilst beef is given up altogether. Plain potatoes and sweets which do not contain an excess of sugar, come into the category of a safe diet, and there is no doubt that anyone who will give a fair trial to such a regime when suffering from rheumatism will find the result most satisfactory. The sufferer from rheumatism also should wear porous hygienic underclothing, either silk or wool, whilst a course of hot-air baths, or sulphur and alkaline baths, which may be obtained at various health resorts, such as Buxton, Bath, etc., are most beneficial.
Summer wettings and chills are just as liable to produce rheumatic attacks as the cold and damp of winter, so that chills should be avoided carefully, whilst at the same time as much exercise out of doors in the fresh air as can be obtained will improve the general health and rheumatic condition as well. Night and morning a wineglassful of any of the well-known mineral waters in an equal quantity of hot water should be taken. One of the best modes of treatment is massage, and plenty of fresh air indoors and out must be obtained. Applications and medicines will be considered under "Rheumatism" in "Common Ailments and Their Treatment."