DISEASE DEVELOPMENTS AND EXPRESSIONS.
The study of the natural history of acid and alkaline children reveals the fact that the disease tendencies in the two classes are radically different.
In the acid child there is a deficiency of the white blood and an excess of the red, hence the skin and mucous membrane are not well protected and there is a marked tendency to dermal irritation and interstitial inflammation. The lips and tongue are red, revealing the fact that the mucous coat is very deficient. It is not at all strange that gastritis, especially of the chronic form, is frequently met in acid babies. Thrush is easily set up by slight dietetic errors or a cold.
The acid condition of the alimentary canal gives rise to frequent thin, green discharges from the bowels. These acid children suffer greatly from colic due to intestinal gases and constriction from local irritation. They cry and fret continually, especially at night, aggravated by the systematic and local atmospheric acidity. The urine flows freely and frequently, is usually of a light color, and irritates the denuded skin if not given the utmost care. The tendency of the skin is to strophulus or heat rash. Brain trouble, due to the rush of blood from crying, colic or other disorders, brings about acute and acquired hydrocephaloid. The system not being nourished as it should be with proper food, makes the child uneasy, restless, and this tends to force the blood to the head in excessive quantities, especially if it cries constantly, as most of them do. Brain symptoms, hydrocephalic, as we can understand, are very common in these acid children.
The chest diseases to which these acid babies are subject are spasmodic croup (and laryngismus stridulus from the cerebral pressure), diphtheritic croup and croupous (lobar) pneumonia. Pleurisy and rheumatism do not often affect these babies until older.
The leading symptoms in any severe disease in acid children are pain, fever and restlessness.
In the excessively alkaline children the superabundance of lymph and white blood and the active condition of the lymphatic (absorbent and reabsorbent) system tends to produce stasis of the circulatory system and exudative catarrhs are the result. The well-developed mouth glands give us drooling early. Dentition is usually tardy and the teething complications may be numerous. The excessive flow of saliva may cause an obscure lienteria. Vide Duncan, Text-book on the Diseases of Children, p. 228. The form of the mouth disease will be aphthae–the ulcerous or gangrenous variety.
The stomach diseases met in the excessively alkaline, fleshy child are acute and chronic catarrh. This latter may be in these subjects congenital or acquired. Duodenal, as well as enteric catarrh, will be frequently met with. We may encounter colitis or dysentery in these children that will prove very obstinate. The most common form is is gastro-enteric catarrhal inflammation, so-called cholera infantum, that may not get much attention until cerebral symptoms appear. Vesical catarrh is an annoying bladder trouble frequently met and often long lasting in the form of nocturnal enuresis.
The skin diseases are also catarrhal and very tedious, as might be inferred. The chief one met is eczema. Moisture behind the ears, chafing, crusta lactea and pustular diseases are frequently met in these fleshy children.
The chief form of brain diseases that may be met will be hydrocephalus, from overtaxed cerebral absorbents. Any serious drain, like long-lasting diarrhoea or a bronchial pneumonia, may develop cerebral anaemia from weak, flabby heart, and the child die suddenly with hydrocephalic convulsions.
Nasal catarrh, membranous croup, capillary bronchitis and bronchial pneumonia are the chief diseases of the respiratory tract in alkaline children.
The prominent symptoms of severe diseases in these excessively fleshy children are coldness, pallor and prostration.