This affection may be general, with special emphasis placed on one or more of the viscera.

Just which special organs will be most affected will depend upon which have borne the stress of wrong life. If the brain and spinal cord have been kept hyperemic from venereal excess, or overstimulation--overstimulated from toxins taken in or toxins autogenerated--then apoplexy or ataxia will follow.

The affection is the last state of the effects of morbid stimulation, either mental or physical, or both. This derangement of the arteries is quite natural, for toxins are circulated throughout the body. The walls, or coats, of the arteries are infected and forced into degeneration sooner than other parts of the body. The highly complex tissues of the body, such as the brain and spinal cord, take on sclerotic change sooner than others.

This affection may begin early in life, but it is seldom absent in the aged, and it is common in adults.

Arteriosclerosis is seldom equally distributed. The parts most affected are those most used. Those whose occupation requires head work will develop hard arteries of the brain. The degeneration in the brain will be that of softening; when of the extremities, it will be dry or senile gangrene.

Symptoms are first dizziness, dyspnea of an asthmatic order, somnolence after eating, and hemicrania. Asthma and headache are the first symptoms in many; and these symptoms point to kidney affection. In women there are sudden congestions and sensations of heat, which pass as symptoms of change of life.

On examination, the heart gives out a tympanic click along with the second sound, with intermittent systolic and diastolic murmur. (See Heart Symptoms.) The arteries are hard; the sphygmomanometer indicates an elevated pressure of about twenty centimeters.

In the second stage there are many local manifestations. Whichever viscus (organ) in any of the four great cavities of the body (for instance, the brain in the cranial; lungs or heart in the thoracic; liver, intestine, or kidneys in the abdominal; and uterus in the pelvic) is the victim of special stress, in arteriosclerosis it will appear to be the cause of discomfort and sickness. If the stomach is the most vulnerable organ, then the subject will be treated for indigestion, dyspepsia, ulceration, or possibly other so-called diseases; if the intestine or reproductive organs are the hyperemic centers, these will be vandalized surgically; if the lungs are the most vulnerable organ, that organ will be the cynosure of the professional eyes of those who are consulted; the same will be true of the breast and other organs.

These various diseases (?)--symptoms or affections, more correctly speaking--are transitory and intermittent, and are in evidence only when the sclerotic subject has been imprudent, and when, through overwork, worry, excessive eating, or sensual indulgence, excessive, functional activity has been brought on. The correct prescription is simply abstinence, followed by greater moderation. Sclerosis means aging, and all nature cries out for rest or moderation. Indeed, rest is the price of continuing in life, and death is the penalty for not resting.

Arteriosclerosis is not a disease that can be cured, but it can be held in check, and the subject made comfortable and quite efficient. It should not be forgotten, however, that the leading prescriptions are proscriptions. The object in treating such subjects is to encourage "status quo".

The organs of the body are sufficiently nourished when not pushed beyond the daily habits; but when speeded up, they do not receive enough blood to be supplied with the oxygen immediately necessary for a quick extra demand or nourishment required for the increased demand. Exercise makes a demand for more nourishment, and hardened tissues work slowly at best; hence great care must be taken not to overwork a sclerosed subject with hardened arteries.

Sudden speeding-up of the digestive organs, and of the heart and arteries, causes spasmodic breathing, clouding of the brain, and inhibits the kidneys, causing transitory uremia, evidenced by heavy drowsiness at inopportune moments when it is embarrasing to appear sleepy. After dinner the sclerosed subject will get heavy and sleepy, in spite of his endeavors to stay awake.

Arteriosclerosis manifests itself early in those of gouty diathesis. It must be understood, however, that toxin poisoning is necessary. Children and young people, as well as adults, must have the overeating habit; they must be in the habit of eating beyond their enzymic capacity. This, of course, necessitates bacterial fermentation of all superfluous nutritive material, and the generation of toxins. When this becomes an established habit, the blood becomes charged with toxins, and necessarily the intima (the internal coat of the arteries) and the endocardium (lining membrane of the heart) must become diseased.

Arteriosclerosis in the first stage presents, as one of the first symptoms, dizziness; dyspnea of an asthmatic character, somnolence after meals, and hemicrania (migraine--pain in one side of the head) are others. The observing physician, in examining all asthmas and hemicranias, will be on the lookout with a view of ascertaining if there is arteriosclerosis as the probable cause. If of a sclerotic origin, there may be a kidney change. In women there may be hot flashes--sudden congestions and heat-flashes--attributed to change of life, when sclerosis is the real cause.

To prove that the above symptoms are due to sclerosis, the heart must give out a tympanitic click at its second sound, and not always murmurs both systolic and diastolic.

The second stage presents organic disturbances, which come and go in keeping with excessive functioning.

The limping and stiffness accompanying this stage of sclerosis are called rheumatism--rheumatic stiffness. Inactivity is followed by claudication, (limping), stiffness, and more or less tenderness, which pass off shortly. Asystole (feebleness of the heart with dilation) presents itself intermittently; so do cerebral clouding and uremia.

The third stage is characterized by the localizing or organizing change. The heart may be the vulnerable organ, and the diagnosis may be sclerotic myocarditis. The heart becomes weaker and weaker, marked by asystole (shortened and weaker systolic contractions), which means that there are dilation and feebleness.

The arterial type is characterized by vascular dilation, with formation of aneurisms, and embolism is imminent.

The cerebral type is marked by unilateral headache, dizziness, etc. This type is liable to terminate in softening, or hemorrhage in the cerebrum, or the meninges. This ending is called cerebral apoplexy.

The renal type of arteriosclerosis is marked by nephritis, with polyuria, slight albuminuria, palpitation of the heart, tension of arteries, and galloping murmurs, Death occurs from uremia, uremic convulsions, gradual weakening of the heart, and sometimes from apoplexy of the lungs.

Treatment

Why should drugs be given? Can drugs add to life, or stop a habit that lowers the health standard? The habits of life that are using up nerve energy must be reformed. Those who are predisposed by diathetic heredity to develop the disease early should get away from family habits, both mental and physical, as soon as possible. Why should not a son or daughter develop affections like those of father and mother, when living in the same environment and practicing the same daily habits?