The attack is generally preceded by precursory symptoms, which if promptly met by the appropriate remedies, often readily yield, and thus the attack itself, for the time is warded off. There is dullness and heaviness of the head, obscuration of sight, buzzing in the ears, hardness of hearing, great disposition to sleep, which however is unrefreshing and disturbed by dreams; derangement of the memory, heat and throbbing of the arteries of the head, and sometimes severe shooting pain; cold hands and feet, pulse slow, full, and intermittent, and not unfrequently torpor of the abdominal organs.
When total apoplexy of the brain takes place, the patient falls down without consciousness, totally, or partially paralyzed; the breathing is stertorous and slow, the pulse hard, full and slow, the eyes are staring and protruded, speech difficult, or entirely lost, the face is livid, and vomiting frequently takes place.
In some cases the patient complains of a sudden and violent headache, vomiting sets in, the pulse is at first soft, the face pale, and the patient in a kind of stupor; gradually the stupor increases, the face becomes red, the patient answers with difficulty, coma sets in, from which every effort to rouse the patient is unsuccessful.
Apoplexy is more frequent among males than females, and generally occurs after persons have passed the prime of life. A predisposition to apoplexy is indicated by a stout short body, large and short neck, corpulence, dark, red countenance. The predisposition is increased by rich living, piles, and sedentary habits.
Treatment.* - In the treatment of this disease the homoeopathic plan is much more successful than any other. If taken during the premonitory symptoms, as I have already stated, the attack can generally be warded off.
The first step should of course be to remove the exciting causes. Tight dresses should be loosened, the patient placed in a cold place, where there is plenty of fresh air, and the head and trunk raised. Should the attack have been produced by poison, this should at once be antidoted. (See chapter on Poisons and their Antidotes.)
Belladonna is an important remedy, where there is severe pain in the forehead, and heat in the head, drawing, tearing, or heaviness and dullness of the head, vertigo, illusions of the senses, great restlessness, sopor, stertorous breathing, dilated pupils.
* For general directions as to the administration of remedies, see page 12.
When produced by mental emotion; sad and whining mood, great nervousness and sleeplessness, heaviness and tightness of the head, with pain as if bruised.
Particularly in old persons, and when occasioned by ardent spirits. Stupor, coma, stertorous breathing, red, bloated face, moaning, motion of the lips as if to talk, full and slow pulse, with throbbing of the arteries of the head.
Sudden attack, accompanied by convulsive motions and followed by snoring breathing. The precursory symptoms are characterized by languor, occasional loss of consciousness, disposition to sleep, from which he starts in affright, small and feeble pulse, violent vertigo, illusions of the senses, sad and peevish mood.
Arnica, - Particularly when occasioned by mechanical injuries and where it appears after a meal.
Distensive pain in the head as if it would burst, throbbing of the arteries, uneasiness and heaviness of the limbs, languor and lassitude from the least exertion, blackness of sight, with vertigo. Frequently in alternation with Belladonna.
In violent cases where the attack has actually commenced, do not trust too much to your own resources, but send immediately for a physician, giving in the mean time a dose of the appropiate remedy every fifteen, twenty, or thirty minutes. For the precursory symptoms a dose may be given three or four times a day. Mix two drops, or twelve globules of the remedy in a tumbler of water, giving a tablespoonful at a dose; or place three globules, or a powder on the tongue.
The diet where premonitory symptoms are present, is all-important. It should be light and spare, and consist entirely of bread, fruit and vegetables, and in very moderate quantities.