This section is from the book "The Home Hand-Book of Domestic Hygiene and Rational Medicine. Volume 2.", by J. H. Kellogg, M.D.. Also available from Amazon: The Home Hand-Book of Domestic Hygiene and Rational Medicine, Volume 2.
Debility, gradually increasing; great pallor of face and skin, often accompanied by puffiness; frequent pulse; frequent urination; dyspepsia, with attacks of nausea and vomiting; tendency to inflammation of the heart-case, pleura, peritoneum, and the membranes of the brain, and also to inflammation of the retina, causing blindness; general dropsy; symptoms of uremic poison and convulsions; coma, drowsiness, and frequently headache; albumen in the urine, as shown by coagulation after adding nitric acid, and heating; cloudy sediment in the urine, consisting of costs.
This disease is sometimes the result of acute inflammation of the kidneys. It most often occurs, however, in consequence of dissipated habits, the use of liquors, and severe and prolonged exposure to wet and cold. It may also result from excessive use of fate, gluttony, and sedentary habits. After death, the kidney is found to be very large, pale, and soft.
The patient must abstain from the use of butter, lard, fat meats, all kinds of fat foods, salt, sugar, and all sweet and starchy substances. The use of meat should be very limited indeed. Alcoholic liquors, tea, coffee, and tobacco must be wholly interdicted. Fish may be allowed occasionally; eggs and milk may be used in moderation. The treatment is usually simply palliative, as complete recovery can hardly be expected when the kidney has become structurally diseased.
For relief of the dropsical symptoms, vapor baths, packs, a bandage about the abdomen, the application of electricity to the abdominal walls, and other measures recommended for a similar condition in other diseases, should be thoroughly employed. When the limbs are become very greatly swollen, the skin may be punctured, in many cases, with a needle, so as to allow the fluid to drain out. No harm will result from this measure, if the portion of the limb in which the punctures are made is covered with a cloth bandage which has been wet in a solution of ten drops of carbolic acid or five drops of oil of cinnamon, with a teaspoonful of glycerine, to an ounce of water. The solution should be well shaken before being applied. After the limbs have been relieved of their fluid, a return of the swelling can be prevented to a considerable degree, by the use of an elastic rubber bandage, which should be applied evenly to the limbs, beginning at the toes and extending upward to above the knees.