This section is from the book "The Transmission Of Life. Counsels On The Nature And Hygiene Of The Masculine Function", by George H. Napheys. Also available from Amazon: The Transmission of Life.
Men are more frequently afflicted with dropsical effusions than women. From forty to fifty years of age, the proportion of deaths from this malady is nine males to five females; from fifty to sixty, the still greater ratio of fourteen males to six females. Here again, as in the case of some of the other diseases we have mentioned, the cause of the disparity between the sexes maybe in a measure accounted for by the more frequent instances of excesses in the use of intoxicating liquors with men than women. For, in the language of Prof. Dickson, " Intemperance in the use of ardent spirits is one of the most prolific sources of dropsy in its worst forms. Whether this fatal habit be carried to the extreme of sottish debauchery and drunkenness, or limited to such indulgence as may be allowed without actual exposure and ruin to the reputation, the effect is ultimately the same; the vitality of the system is exhausted by the incessant application of inordinate stimuli; the powers of the stomach are worn out by the repetition of excesses, each more debilitating than the former, or its tissues thickened and inflamed by being so constantly bathed in a heating and almost caustic fluid; the viscera concerned in digestion become universally obstructed and indurated, and disease and death must at length ensue."