Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 43.djvu/243

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231
WHY GROW OLD?

of adventitious matter throw its harmony of movement out of order!

Work of some kind or another seems essential to the well-being of the human organism. Even a machine keeps in better order when it is worked, looked after, and oiled, than when it is neglected and allowed to rust. Up to middle age persons may indulge in any amount of hard physical exercise—that is, if they are wiry and of proper physical proportion; but if a tendency to corpulency supervenes, certain changes in the blood-vessels and other organs, on whose healthy action robust health depends, take place. These become weakened and altered in texture, so that any attempt at undue exercise is attended with a certain amount of risk. Hence, any one who wishes to live to old age, and enjoy it, should look with anxiety at the first indication of corpulency. How many patients have consulted me to whom I have pointed out personally, or by correspondence, that they have carried for years an unnecessary burden in the way of surplus weight; and after, by proper dietic treatment, they have been relieved of it, with improvement in health and condition, they have regretted that for so many years they should have been weighted with a useless and uncomfortable load.

Of course, the tendency to corpulency is a very common one, and I know of no condition that tends to shorten life and to make it more of a misery, especially as years advance. The extra work of carrying unnecessary fat entailed on the heart alone is quite sufficient to shorten life; but, worse than this even, it lays the system more open to congestive diseases, and less able to bear treatment for their cure. It is the greatest bar to enjoyable old age. I suppose my experience of this condition is exceptional, as I devote the whole of my professional time to remedying it and a few other diseases of malnutrition, by a system of scientific dieting now well known. As this condition is the result of taking certain foods in undue proportions, its remedy lies in properly apportioning these; and as soon as those who unduly increase in weight are taught what the injurious ingredients of their daily diet are, and advised to curtail them for a time, the result is that they lose unnecessary tissue rapidly and safely, with improvement in every way.

For a month or two the daily intake of food and its constituents must be carefully adjusted. No purgative or other medicine is necessary for the purpose; indeed, violent purgative medicines are absolutely injurious, as they simply wash the food through, without giving it time to nourish the system, and debility, palpitation of the heart, and loss of condition result. Of course, a little mild aperient, in the shape of some natural mineral water, such as the Franz Josef, is always harmless, and most people,