The Symptoms of Congestion Of The Liver

Gas in the stomach and bowels; weight and fullness in the stomach and in the region of the liver; heart-burn and eructation of acid matter; furred tongue; clammy, bitter taste in the mouth in the morning; nasal and pharyngeal catarrh; bowels irregular; color of stools changeable; palpitation of the heart; beating at the stomach; irregular pulse; disturbed sleep; bad dreams; disturbance of vision; vertigo; pain in front part of head; hemorrhoids; dry cough; urine highly colored with brick-dust sediment.

All of the above symptoms are not always found in any one patient, but the majority of them will.be observed in all patients suffering from acute or chronic congestion of the liver. This affection is much more common than is generally supposed, and it lays the foundation for a great variety of secondary difficulties. On account of the congested state of the liver, it fails to perform its work of breaking down the waste tissues and effecting their elimination by the kidneys; consequently, the whole system is contaminated by the products of imperfect elaboration, the chief of which are uric and oxalic acids. Gout is well known to be due to the accumulation of uric acid in the system, and doubtless depends more on the inactive state of the liver due to congestion than to any other cause. Stone in the bladder, gall-stones, degeneration of the kidneys, general degeneration of the tissues of the body, local inflammations of various kinds, and numerous constitutional diseases, are un doubtedly due to disordered action of the liver, probably chronic congestion.

There are good reasons for believing that many constitutional diseases which are not otherwise easily accounted for, are really due to disordered liver. Among other disorders which may fairly be attributable to functional derangements of this organ, may be mentioned dyspepsia, hemorrhoids, jaundice, nervous debility, pains in the limbs, burning or scorching patches in the palms or soles, neuralgia, headache, cramp, vertigo, disturbances of vision, paralysis, mania, epilepsy, sleeplessness, depression of spirits, and nervous irritability. Various derangements of other organs due to functional disturbance of the liver, may be chiefly attributed to congestion, such as palpitation of the heart, neuralgia of the heart, feeble circulation, chronic catarrh of the throat, asthma, chronic bronchitis, chronic inflammation of the bladder, together with various diseases of the skin, as psoriasis, eczema, urticaria, pruritis or intolerable itching, boils, and brown spots in the face and hands known as liver spots.

The Causes of Congestion Of The Liver

The causes of congestion of the liver, like those of most other functional diseases of the organ, include chronic catarrh of the stomach and intestines, and organic disease of the heart and lungs, by which mechanical congestion is produced. Among other causes, errors in diet must be mentioned as the most important. Overeating is one of the most frequent causes of this affection. A careful examination will show that the liver becomes enlarged after a hearty meal, owing to the increased quantity of blood sent into it during digestion. The use of fats, sugars, and alcoholic drinks may rightly be regarded as among the most serious dietetic errors productive of this disease, as it may easily be shown that the size of the liver is very greatly increased after a meal in which these injurious substances have been used. It has been shown also that the deficient supply of pure air, high temperature, prolonged mental anxiety, malaria, and various other conditions are productive of congestion of the liver.

The Treatment of Congestion Of The Liver

Dr. Murchison wisely remarks with reference to the treatment of this disease, that "much more permanent benefit is to be derived from careful regulation of the ingesta [food] than from physic." Dr. Bence Jones, an eminent English physician, who Is good authority on the subject, insists that "a minimum of albuminous [meat and eggs] food should be taken in order to produce less uric acid." Sugar, butter, tea and coffee, condiments of all kinds and alcoholic drinks, should be scrupulously avoided. The food should be as simple as possible, and the patient should be exceedingly careful to avoid overeating. The use of acid fruits is to be recommended. Much benefit may be derived from the use of water. It should be drank in considerable quantities for the purpose of thoroughly cleansing the tissues from the products of the breaking down of the system. The skin should be kept clean by daily baths. The vapor and Turkish baths, packs, rubbing wet sheet, and abdominal girdle, are excellent measures of treatment. In addition, the same measures should be employed as recommended for torpidity of the liver, a condition in many respects closely resembling congestion. Iron, quinine, and the various other tonics which are frequently prescribed for persons suffering with congestion of the liver, always aggravate the difficulty. Illustrations of this fact are found in the work of Dr. Murchison already referred to; and we have often confirmed it by experience.

Chronic Inflammation of the Liver

The disease known by this name is really chronic congestion. The causes, symptoms, and treatment are similar to those of congestion and torpidity of the liver.