This section is from the "Impaired Health: Its Cause And Cure" (Volume 1) book, by John H. Tilden. Also available from Amazon: Impaired health its cause and cure: A repudiation of the conventional treatment of disease
Scrofulous children are often very good-looking. The skin is white, soft, and beautiful; the eyes are adorned with long, exquisitely curved, and flowing eyelashes; and the brow is mounted with a splendidly curved line of hair to match the eyelashes. The legs and arms are plump and prettily formed; but the flesh is soft and flabby, and, when youth is past, the flesh of such subjects sits on their bones much as a saddle fits a sow. The nose is often large and broad; the hair of the head long and beautiful in texture.
The young scrofulous subject, at or even before puberty, is troubled with acne, and often most beautifully featured young women and young men develop the most disgusting types of "acne vulgaris." Girls develop leucorrhea, and are often sexually precocious. Boys develop sex-neurosis.
These children have enlarged tonsils, adenoids, and enlarged submaxillary and cervical glands.
Slight inflammation of the eyelids is common. Often the edges of the eyelids are red, and discharge a secretion that glues the lashes together slightly during the night.
Glandular inflammations, that come and go, are common. When the glands once suppurate, they are inclined to repeat. It is hard to say when they are cured, as they appear to recover fully, but a week of indiscretion in eating is quite enough to start up the inflammation again.
Scrofulous children develop the first symptoms of catarrh soon after birth. The very bad habits of frequent feeding--every two or three hours--and giving sugar and starch, produce catarrhal symptoms. A cold is the first symptom; and, if errors of diet are continued, glandular involvement soon follows. Tonsillitis and adenoids ensue as a matter of course, and then all the diseases peculiar to childhood, in sequential order. A large percentage of these children die before teething is finished. Those who do not, have a history of many sick spells, besides the regular diseases of childhood. Those who have the diathesis most profoundly established, and whose anatomical construction favors the development of pulmonary tuberculosis, will go down with this disease about the end of the development period.
The age when bodily development is greatest is the most important age in life. This is the age when resistance to inherited tendencies is held back. If understood, and rational means were adopted for overcoming these tendencies, many who now go down and out with scrofulous diseases would improve on their ancestral stock by giving evolution a chance to bring out previously suppressed potential energies. Inherited diseases, or inherited predispositions to take on disease, mean ill-balanced anatomical construction; and defective construction must mean defective functioning. To illustrate: Environments and habits which neglect lung development and cause under-development predispose to tuberculosis in scrofulous subjects, but in those who have the nervous temperament unduly developed, brain diseases, insanity, or some form of nervous trouble will be developed.
In those cases where bone development falls below ideal physical construction--where eating habits, or geographical location, fail to supply material for proper bone development, or where drugs have been used which derange the nutrition of the bone--tubercular bone diseases may be looked for, such as caries; also tubercular inflammation of the synovial membranes, burse, and membranes of the brain.
The scrofulous diathesis is a constitutional state favoring the development of inflammations of all kinds.
In just what way a given scrofulous subject will be afflicted will depend on, first, his anatomical build; secondly, his habits; and, thirdly, his domestic and civic environments.
He may develop tuberculosis of the lungs when construction favors it, and the eating and other habits develop the necessary toxin poisoning.
If the most vulnerable point be the liver, heart, lungs, kidneys, skin, bowels, brain, or parts of less importance, indiscretion in the indulgences of appetite and passion will turn loose the sleuth hounds of toxins, whose business is to seek out the most vulnerable gland or organ in the body, and there set up an inflammatory state, the severity of which must depend upon the bodily resistance and the continuance of the exciting cause.
The cure should be obvious to the most stupid; namely, to build up lost resistance by rest, and to correct the sensuality.
It is obvious that the state of resistance--the state of enervation--must range from one nearly normal to one of almost no resistance at all. The question of cure, then, must be a question of determining to which class the patient belongs. If to that of lowest resistance, the possibilities of recovery are nil. A perfect treatment will secure the most comfort and the longest life possible, but no cure. Not so of the type representing almost full resistance. Those in this class can be cured when in the first stages of almost any disease, by simply correcting their daily habits.
It is quite obvious that physicians whose experience is confined to large clinics filled with charitable subjects--patients of the ne'er-do-well type, the unsuccessful and scrofulous types--will have quite a different opinion, as to the curability of most chronic diseases, from that of the physician whose practice and experience have been confined to a more successful and higher physical type of people. There are two classes of patients who have low resistance. The first comprises charitable cases, found in county hospitals and public clinics. The second class is composed of the overindulged, pampered, and spoiled who have gone the pace--lived such a sensual life that an otherwise good constitution is reduced to no resistance whatever. The former class cannot be brought back, because the degeneration is too complete. The latter class cannot be brought back, because habits are more powerful than the will. Add to these hopeless cases a treatment that is degenerating, and then a consuming fear, which is commonly imparted, and there is reason a-plenty for building the pessimism of the average professional man.
Those physicians who look upon syphilis as one of the most dreadful diseases on earth have gained their experience by seeing and treating scrofulous--syphilitic--subjects of very low resistance. They have made the mistake of breaking down what resistance the patient had left by mercurialization, developing a scrofulo-syphilo-mercurial type that cannot be cured because of the physical degeneration which existed before the syphilitic infection. The force of these statements will be better understood if through the mind's eye there may be contrasted the scrofulous subjects, from the most resistant type to the type too low to throw off disease, with a non-scrofulous subject who, when in full health, cannot be infected.
The immune people--people who have no scrofula, and who fail to take on disease, no matter how much exposed they are--resist infection from specific diseases until their habits of life lower their resistance; then they frequently become infected.
Scrofulous subjects should be in the open air and sunshine as much as possible; and, if they desire comfort and a reasonably long life, they must be moderate in all things.