6. Sexual Excesses - The Causes of Consumption or Tuberculosis

Self-abuse and excessive venery are undoubtedly most powerful acting causes of pulmonary consumption. The enervating effects of these vices are felt by every organ in the body and not more by any other organ than by the lungs. We have seen many cases of consumption among young persons in which the disease could be directly traced to secret vice; and in a number of instances we have met cases in which the evidence was too strong to be mistaken that excessive sexual indulgence with the opposite sex was the real foundation of the disease. This should be borne in mind by persons suffering with this affection, as in many cases the sexual desires are not abated even though the disease may have reached an advanced stage, although their gratification is in the highest degree detrimental to the prospects of recovery.

7. Foreign Bodies - The Causes of Consumption or Tuberculosis

Certain trades, such as stone-cutting, file-grinding, wool-carding, cigar-making, manufacturing of hats, and other occupations productive of much dust, which the workmen are obliged to inhale, are exceedingly productive of disease of the lungs. The fine particles which are received into the lungs produce, first, simply a slight irritation which results in congestion, and finally settled catarrh, which, gradually working down into the fine air-tubes of the lungs, at last involves the air-cells and gives rise to morbid processes the final result of which is consumption. We have met a num ber of cases in which the disease originated in this way. Fig. 311 illustrates the microscopical appearance of a small portion of the lung of a person who died of consumption which resulted from the inhalation of charcoal dust.

Fig. 311. Small Portion Of Lung.

Fig. 311. Small Portion Of Lung.

It will be observed that the lung tissues are so completely filled with the fine particles of charcoal that the lung has become almost as black as the charcoal itself. In cases in which persons have become consumptive by the inhalation of fine particles of stone while working at the trade of stone-cutting, the lung frequently contains so large a quantity of stony particles as to have a gritty feeling, and resist the edge of a knife. The deposits of blood in the lungs are the result of hemorrhage, another cause which should be mentioned. It is generally supposed that hemorrhage from the lungs is positive proof of the existence of consumption. This is a mistake, however, as it not infrequently happens that the hemorrhage is itself the cause of the disease rather than the result; portions of blood left in the lungs undergo a kind of degeneration, which soon results in the formation of tubercles, and finally in the breaking down of the lungs and the formation of cavities.

8. Various Diseases - The Causes of Consumption or Tuberculosis

From the examination and study of several hundred cases of lung disease within the last ten years, we have become satisfied that consumption is a primary disease in but a small proportion of cases. In a majority of consumptive persons whom we have met, history has showed very clearly that the system was first weakened and debilitated by some other affection before the pulmonary difficulty manifested itself. We have become fully convinced that dyspepsia is a very common cause of consumption. Through impairment of the digestion, the blood becomes of poor quality, the patient loses flesh and strength, and his power to resist the causes of disease becomes so susceptible that slight things which in health would not have affected him at all are sufficient to lay the foundation for a fatal malady. A great majority of persons who suffer from chronic diabetes finally die of consumption. This is also a very common termination for the wretched and misspent lives of syphilitic patients. Typhoid fever, measles, whooping-cough, chlorosis, intermittent and other malarial fevers, and other affections which merely debilitate the system, frequently terminate in consumption.