ITS TREATMENT AND PREVENTION.
By DR. LEO BONNIN, Berlin-Statensee
THERE are diverse illnesses that appear at odd seasons in variable frequency without any definite reasons for their origin being timely discovered.
Almost for the last twenty years we have all, no doubt, had to practically experience, unfortunately, the extraordinarily adverse effects of universal economic depression, many of us having to suffer from an undue measure of perpetual worry and excitement as a result of these deplorable times.
It is quite explicable, therefore, that our constant struggle for a bare existence, due to a worldwide insecure economic condition, when, not only does the burden of our cares in professional life weigh heavily upon us, but also the thought for the future adds greatly to a never-ceasing fount of cares, cannot leave our bodies unscathed. And so, in fact, there has developed in recent years a certain group of heart complaints, which were known indeed in the good old peaceful days, but by no means to such an extent as they prevail to-day.
As this illness develops but gradually and the primary symptoms are often times not noticed, precious time is frequently lost and the treatment given unfortunately at too late a stage is therefore unable to check the decline. With the following I will therefore endeavour to exhaustively explain this novel form of malignant heart trouble and show with what remedies and prescriptions it can be prevented and alleviated.
The peculiar part about this disease is that no symptomatic illness need precede it, as for instance rheumatism in the joints as a forerunner of cardiac valve trouble. The patient need not actually have ever felt ill, on the other hand, however, he may, from some reason or other, have had a series of worries climbing the stairs, he must frequently stop and stand still for a space on account of a stabbing, drawing pain emanating from the heart that mostly extends right down into the left arm. A cold sweat and a terrible choking sensation, as if an invisible hand were strangling him and a feeling of impending death, overcome him.
This terrible sensation and agony only last for a short time, then disappear leaving no after-affects whatever. The sufferer thereupon continues his way wondering whatever could have so suddenly befallen him. Sometimes such a victim may find really some tangible cause, such as over-strenuous walk or the weather mayhap was extremely stormy, making it very difficult for him to get along; perchance he had eaten not wisely but too well just before he went out, or he had had a very exciting day at the office or the like. As often as not, however, the reason for such an attack cannot be found, despite considerable reflection as to its sudden appearance. Such an attack may happen again after but a short interval; it may, however, not reappear for years.
Now what mysterious illness can this be to befall a person so suddenly? Medical men know these malignant attacks as angina pectoris, which means more or less in plain English “constriction of the chest”.
Very interesting is the difference in frequency of this complaint upon men and women. Of 100 such cases observed, 97 of these are man and only 3 women. This statistical fact also indicates what a considerable part professional worries play in the cause of an illness.
But we will now come to speak of a peculiar, extremely important fact. The very same symptoms, exactly the same attacks, a like terrible feeling of impending death may all be the cause of either a perfectly harmless indisposition or, on the other hand, of a grave illness. Thee exists namely, beside angina pectoris, also a pseudo form of this affection. The real malady is due to a material change occurring in the small blood vessels situated in the heart muscles ( coronary arteries) which, despite their smallness, have the very important duty of nourishing the heart muscle in which they are embedded.
Should these vessels, for instance, be thickened through calcification to such a degree that the blood can no longer pass through, in the same moment the supply of blood to the heart muscle ceases and a sudden death inevitably results. There is one comfort, however, and that is only a part of the attacks discussed are caused by such organic changes. In most cases, the blood vessels have not undergone a change at all, breathlessness occurring as a result of the nerves, that regulate the contraction and dilatation of the heart vessels, being defective for some reason or other.
The heart vessels contract in a cramped way, causing the same distressing symptoms, feeling of impending death and radiating pain as occur by a genuine calcification of the coronary arteries. The vital difference is that in the case of a simple nervous defect, the heart vessels open again and normal functioning is resumed, whereas in calcification, the vessels remain closed, the heart succumbing from a lack of blood.
Now what causes all forth such a crisis? In the first place, unremitting excitement, excessive exertion, probably also an over-indulgence in tobacco or in strong tea or coffee. In cold or windy weather the attacks occur much more frequently than in the warmer season of the year, since walking in such weather increases heart action. Even those pseudo, nervous attacks, which are more or less harmless, conceal nevertheless the danger of the victim, in fear of still further attacks, being averse to every exercise and making his life a continual misery on account of his morbid watch for further “seizures”. The blood vessels, due to the perpetual anxious excitement in which the sufferer finds himself, become sensitive to such a degree, that the attacks grow more frequent and the heart muscle in time become undernourished.
Such a state is all the more tragic, seeing that in homoeopathy appropriate means are at hand of quelling these attacks and finally stopping them.
Naturally, only after a careful examination of the heart and attendant symptoms, can a decision be reached as to whether the illness is a real or pseudo form. A few general rulings, however, apply for all these forms of illness. It should be warned against partaking of too abundant meals and particularly against severe exercise after meals. That excessive bodily exertion should be avoided, needs hardly and warning.
The consumption of alcohol and nicotine should be decreased on a frequent recurrence of attacks. Very important also is that patients should be spared every excitement, though this advice nowadays is purely a theoretical prescription. We must resort, therefore, to medicines. This being so, I will briefly list as follows some of the more important medicines of a homoeopathic nature available.
The best known as regards the primary symptoms, namely constriction of the chest, is undoubtedly Cactus grandiflorus, which therefore represents the pre-eminent remedy for this form of heart attack. Its effect is enhanced by Belladonna which has the quality of reducing very quickly the cramped condition of the heart and the blood vessels, thereby affording the best remedy for the defects described above. The nervous anxiety of the heart is best eliminated by Cimicifuga.
The distressing symptom of breathlessness and tendency to swoons are removed in a purposeful way by Convallaria, a remedy also frequently used in allopathic treatment, whilst Phytolacca has good effect on the radiating pains. Those conditions of agitation chiefly observed in angina pectoris, are reduced to a minimum by Arnica. Argentum nitricum is then best applicable when heart attacks set in severely after meals.
Small doses of Nitro glycerine ( Glonoinum) in homoeopathic dilution often works wonders, since it is best able to quickly open the vessels, thus allowing blood to instantly flow again to the heart muscles, its effect therefore preventing serious harm.
From the above the reader will have seen how vitally important is the significance of such an illness, how easily any one of us may be taken with it, what considerable results may follow, but, on the other hand, what timely treatment can do.
No one, therefore, should ignore the primary symptoms of the illness, as explained above, and obtain as quickly as possible medical advice as to the best possible countermeasures. Only then can the serious effects of this very prevalent malignant illness of to-day be avoided.
In Angina and Pseudo Angina I have found Latrodectus mactans of the very greatest value. I give it as a rule in the sixth centesimal potency.