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
The continuous use of nicotine establishes a toleration, but at the cost of a slow and continuous loss of nerve energy.
Those of low vitality, brought on from chronic tobacco poisoning, break down and die of some form of acute disease. No one ever suspects the truth that, if they had been possessed of the energy they have wasted on stimulants, they could have survived the disease.
This truth is not known, and will probably be disputed by the world of tobacco-users. But it is simply a matter of mathematical calculation. Tobacco is a poison. It uses up nerve energy, It requires nerve energy to resist shock, and, if a given shock is too great for the amount of energy possessed by the injured man, he will die. If he had been possessed of the amount thrown away on stimulants, he would have had enough to withstand the shock.
This is true of any stimulating habit. The inebriate, or the individual with used-up nerve energy from other stimulants, will go down under the influence of a disease that otherwise would not cause death.
The nicotine poison affects the mind by dulling ambition; it affects the sensory centers, and causes more or less loss of taste, smell, sight, and hearing; the vasomotor system is deranged--the heart is overworked, and the arteries are hardened; the trophic or nutritional system is deranged, and the subject loses weight--or, on the other hand, obesity may develop.
So long as man has the balance to the good, he can boast that his habits are not injurious to him. But what about sickness and the death-rate between thirty and sixty-five years of age? Why do more than twice as many men die between thirty-five and forty-five as between twenty-five and thirty-five, and nearly three times as many as die between forty-five and fifty-five? Because the ten years from thirty-five to forty-five is where man comes to the parting of the ways of life. He must let up on his habits or die.
Why should men in the prime of life be prostrated and die of acute disease? Lost resistance is the answer. What causes lost resistance? Persistent, excessive stimulation.
Acute disease cannot down a normal man.
When prostration comes, if a little of the wasted energy could be restored, it would make recovery possible.
To restore lost power reestablishes immunization.
When threescore and ten comes, if habits have been such as to conserve energy, life will be prolonged, and the sane and rational faculties will make the enjoying of life possible.
People who are healthy are normal, and normal people have the faculty of enjoying, be they twenty or a hundred and twenty years of age. Disease is what ruins life; for it means discomfort in mind and body. To enjoy, one must hold the right perspective of life; and this is impossible for those who are drunk--toxin--poisoned.
Dotage and driveling belong to disease--not to old age. Nature never makes a clown of old age. Man builds his own grotesqueness.
The lay reader must keep in mind that shocks of every kind are stimulating, and that stimulation to the point of awareness is overstimulation; and, when this is persisted in, organic change (degeneration) sets in; then the output of sensation is abnormal, and means mental and physical disease.
This is why men in the prime of life become prostrated with acute diseases, and die, or develop such chronic diseases as tabes dorsalis, diabetes, Bright's disease, arteriosclerosis, heart disease, epilepsy, et al.
There is but one reason for disease, either of an acute or of a chronic character; namely, lost resistance--enervation--from habitual overstimulation.
Tobacco, alcohol, coffee, tea, overstimulation from food, wrong food mixtures, sensuality, lasciviousness, overworked emotions, misanthropy, a life of selfishness and dishonesty--any one of these stimulants, used continually, lowers nerve resistance, causing man to become vulnerable to unusual shocks, and at last to the usual shocks of his environment.
The difference between health and disease--between a normal state of resistance and enervation--is that health, or normal resistance, reacts and readjusts from unusual stimulation or shock, and is so adjusted to local environment that its stimulating effects are not noticed--they are subconscious, as they should be if ideal health is desired; while disease is that state of health marked by lost resistance, with little power to react.
A man is not old until the stimulating effects of his environment are too shocking for him--not until he loses his reacting and readjusting power.
Reaction is the body's protector; pain is an educator, a protector. When we listen to the voice of pain--the call of reason--and remove its cause, we conserve our powers and lengthen our lives.