Affections of the Ductless Glands

the hygienic system orthopathy chapter 13


Definition: A rare symptom-complex "due to inadequacy of the adrenal glands," and characterized by extreme muscular weakness, weakness of the heart and blood vessels, bronzing of the skin and mucous membranes, and irritability of the gastro-intestinal tract.

Symptoms: Profound muscular weakness, said to develop "without obvious cause" and unaccompanied with corresponding emaciation, develops early. Blood pressure is very low and in advanced cases fainting frequently occurs. Brownish pigmentation (bronzing of the skin) which is almost universal, but is especially marked on the exposed parts and genitalia, around the nipples and navel, and wherever the skin has been irritated or compressed, appears sooner or later in almost all cases. In many cases the mucous membranes are also pigmented. Gastro-intestinal irritability, evidenced by pain and discomfort in the stomach region, loss of appetite, recurrent vomiting or diarrhea, is common. The usual changes of secondary anemia are seen in the blood. There is decided hypofunction of the supra-renal glands.
Etiology: To attribute this symptom-complex to hypofunction of the adrenal glands and stop there is not to find cause. To record that it is more common in males than in females and that it develops most often between the ages of twenty and fifty years, does not reveal cause. There must be a cause for the pathology in the adrenal glands and the poverty of their enzymes. That "the causes of tuberculosis in general favor its development" and that "tuberculosis of the adrenals is the common anatomical change" points to toxemia, intestinal sepsis and dietary deficiency as cause.

Prognosis: "The disease is probably always fatal, and, usually lasts from a few months to several years. The course is not uniform but marked by remissions and exacerbations." This is the medical prognosis. Weger says: "The duration of the disease varies from a few months to two years and rarely is a recovery recorded. The few cases that have come under our observation and care have undoubtedly had their lives prolonged by correct living."

Care of the Patient: The first thing to be done in all cases is to relieve the body of its toxic overload and restore nerve energy through fasting and rest. All enervating practices must be discontinued and a general program of health building carried out. Proper feeding will always include abundant quantities of fresh fruits and green vegetables. Meat and eggs should be abstained from.
The hypofunctioning of the adrenal glands is not due to a lack of their secretions and no cure can be reasonably hoped for from the use of adrenal extracts. The physiologist, P. G. Styles, says of the adrenal glands: "Their extracts do not successfully compensate for the lack of living cells; the body seems to need a slow uniform delivery of this internal secretion, and periodic dosing does not prove equivalent to the natural condition."


Definition: This is a rare affection characterized by bilateral tonic, intermittent or continuous, spasms, especially of the extremities, and increased irritability of the nerves and muscles, especially in. response to mechanical and electrical stimulation.

Symptoms: Tonic spasms beginning in the hands and feet, on both sides, and spreading upward, come on apparently suddenly. The muscles of the face and trunk are rarely involved. Indeed in some cases the hands alone are affected. The spasms usually come on paroxysmally and last from a few minutes to an hour or two; though in very severe cases they may be more or less continuous. Pain sometimes accompanies the spasms. In children laryngismus stridulus is common. Slight fever and edema occasionally accompany the cramps.

Latent tetany which presents very mild spasms may consist of muscular irritability, slight stiffness without spasm and morbid sensations.

Etiology: Parathyroid insufficiency resulting in a lack of calcium in the blood is the standard cause. It develops after removal or destruction of the parathyroid glands. It is seen in certain types of poisoning (ergot, chloroform, etc.) and in handworkers (shoemakers, tailors, etc.) who come in contact with poisons. It sometimes develops in pregnancy, perhaps due to the robbery of the maternal blood of calcium by the embryo and in lactation, probably from the same cause. It sometimes appears in "acute infections," and in adults is seen most commonly as a complication of gastrectasis. Poisoning and deficiency seem to be the chief causes of non-operative cases.

Prognosis: Cases last from a few days to several months and relapses are common. The spasms may occur at intervals of hours or days. The general outlook is good. A high mortality is noted in tetany arising in gastrectasis. Removal of toxemia, better food and a re-ordered life will modify the above.

Care of the Patient: Certainly no food should be given during the spasm, nor thereafter until toxemia is removed. All enervating practices should be discontinued and all sources of poisoning removed. A diet of fresh fruits and green vegetables will supply the body with all the calcium and other elements needed. Nothing is gained by feeding lime-rich foods so long as the parathyroids are impaired.
Definition: A symptom-complex characterized by general obesity, atrophy or failure of development of the sexual organs, a lack of pubic hair, sleepiness, and high tolerance for carbohydrates.
Four other closely related conditions are included under the above general head as follow:

Adiposis Dolorosa (Dercum's "disease"): More or less symmetrical deposits of fatty masses in various parts of the body, attended or preceded by pain and frequently associated with loss of strength and mental abnormalities characterize this form.

Ateliosis: A childish facial appearance, diminutive stature, with short, slender limbs, ill-developed muscular prominences, small jaw bones, a thin piping voice, low blood pressure and scanty urination, characterize this condition.

Idiopathic Infantilism (Lorain type): This is a condition in which the characters of childhood persist in adult life. Several forms are described but the distinctions are unimportant. The sex organs are wasted or fail to develop, the secondary sexual characteristics (beard, broad shoulders, change of voice, etc., in males; breasts, broad hips, etc., in females) never develop. The face remains infantile.
The pubic region is devoid of hair. Often, but not always, there is dwarfness of stature. Marked mental retardation is usual, but, rarely, these individuals are quite bright but likely to be eccentric, egotistical, even egomaniacal.

Progeria: This is a form of infantilism associated with premature senility and hardening of the heart and arteries.

Etiology: These conditions are thought to be due to insufficiency of the pituitary gland, though it is conceded that other glands of internal secretion may also be concerned in the process. Certain, it is, that many of these failures of development follow early removal of the gonads (ovaries and testicles) and there is atrophy or failure of gonadal development in all of these cases.
What causes the pituitary hypofunction? What causes the gonadal failure? What causes the gonadal atrophy? Here must be metabolic perversion, beginning, perhaps, in the mother. Poisoning and the resulting deficiencies must be considered as cause.

Care of the Patient: Perhaps something can be done for these cases if the condition is recognized early and nutrition corrected. Proper food and sunbaths should help. Certainly nothing will be of value after development is far advanced. As the condition is not due to lack of secretion, to supply glandular secretions from without will not normalize the faulty glands.
Definition: This is a very rare condition which, like floating kidney, belongs to visceroptosis. The spleen is sagged down below its normal position and movable.

Symptoms: Displacement and movability of the spleen are the only symptoms.

Etiology: "There is no reason," says Tilden, "why the spleen should not sag down below its normal position, from the same causes that allow the stomach, transverse colon, and other organs in the abdominal viscera to drop below their level. Great enervation, muscular relaxation, and intra-abdominal pressure from gas, etc., may occasionally displace, deform, and put out of their normal position any of these organs." In malarial countries, where there is much enlargement of the spleen, the weight of the enlarged spleen, pulling heavily upon its attachments, may weaken these and displace the spleen downward.

Care of the Patient: If the subject is uncomfortable enough to seek a doctor, it will not be from the "wandering" spleen. It will be from indigestion, gas in the bowels, etc. Everything, therefore, should be done, to improve the patient's general health. Other than this, care for the patient as directed under visceroptosis in this and Volume IV of this series.
Definition: This is a symptom-complex that develops in infants and young children in which there is hypothyroidism.

Symptoms: Arrested mental and physical development, with changes in the skin like those in myxedema with a characteristic deformity of the bones and soft parts are characteristic. The head is large, the features coarse and bloated, the expression stolid or idiotic, the trunk and limbs short and thick, the abdomen protuberant, the sexual organs infantile, and the skin rough and dry. Constipation, imperfectly closed fontanelles, delayed dentition, irregular teeth, deficient muscular development and lack of incentive and initiative, mental dullness, with varying degrees of backwardness, stupidity and, even, idiocy, are present. Children who live beyond the teething period grow up dwarfs with enormous sized joints.

Etiology: To attribute cretinism to thyroid deficiency is to stop at a half-way point. It is to overlook the deficiencies and excesses that are responsible for thyroid hypofunction. Perverted nutrition is responsible for the failure of the thyroid. Tilden says: "the fact that the child can be conceived shows that its state of health is good enough to allow its birth. The fact that the child is born with a derangement of its nutritive system is proof positive that the disease was started since conception. Parents live in such a haphazard way as to pervert their nutrition and pervert the nutrition of the unborn child. After such children are born they are fed improperly and cared for improperly, and naturally develop an infection. The infection takes place in the large intestine from putrescence. Why develop this kind of disease rather than some other? Because the nutrition of the parents for a generation or more has been perverted in such a way as to favor the developing of a diathesis favorable to the taking-on of this disease. The fact that several in a family can develop the disease is nothing strange. Why should not the same environment, the same thoughts, the same eating, the same habits — in short, why should not the same psychology and the same physiological influences — build' similar derangements?
"The swollen abdomen of the child, if it proves anything at all, proves a perversion of digestion, with the evolution of a great deal of gas. The gas and these toxins are absorbed, and infect the blood. The decomposition in the large intestine is of a putrefactive character; and putrescence will certainly affect the whole system and disturb the nutrition generally, when absorbed."

Care of the Patient: Giving gland extracts does not remove cause. We are dealing here with a perversion of metabolism growing out of a variety of causes, in which the thyroid deficiency is merely a link in a chain, and no attention that is confined to this link can ever hope to be successful.
The whole life and environment of the child must be improved. Feeding must be designed not merely to eliminate indigestion, but also to supply the body with needed minerals and vitamins. Animal proteins should be eschewed and fruits and vegetables fed within the digestive capacity of the child. A fast at the beginning will serve to eliminate toxins and normalize metabolism. Sunbaths are especially desirable in this condition.
MYXEDEMA (Hypothyroidism)
Definition: Hypothyroidism is the term applied to the condition resulting from deficient function of the thyroid. Myxedema is a symptom-complex attributed to a lack of thyroid secretion and characterized by brawny thickening of the subcutaneous tissues, loss of energy and mental deterioration.

Symptoms: There is a gradual swelling of the subcutaneous tissues, especially on the face and hands and the regions above the clavicle. Unlike edema the parts do not pit on pressure, but are firm and elastic. The skin is dry and harsh; the hair becomes brittle and falls out and the thyroid gland is atrophied (wasted). Characteristic of the condition is a peculiar slowness of speech, thought and movement. Dementia may ultimately develop. There is frequent pulse and subnormal temperature. The special senses are impaired and such sensory abnormalities as undue sensitiveness to cold, neuralgic pains, and a sensation as if ants are crawling on the body (formication) are common. The sexual functions are impaired.

Etiology: Myxedema is said to be caused by thyroid deficiency. This is due to medicine's habit of stopping at a half-way point in its search for cause. They are so accustomed to starting with an established pathology as cause that they do not go beyond the pathology in the thyroid in their search for the cause of myxedema. The thyroid deficiency is but a link in a chain. The thyroid deficiency does not cause itself. It does not just happen without cause. The deficiency of the thyroid secretion is not the cause of the deficiency of thyroid secretion. The real cause lies back of the deficiency, in the perverted metabolism of the patient. Operative myxedema or cachexia strumipriva is myxedema following complete removal of the thyroid gland.

Prognosis: Proper care instituted early may result in recovery. The tendency of the condition is to become progressively worse. This, we think, is due to persistence of cause.

Care of the Patient: To give thyroid extract does not remove the cause of thyroid deficiency. It does not restore health to the thyroid gland, nor to the body as a. whole. It will not cure wrong life. Whatever of apparent benefit flows from this procedure is short-lived and can last only so long as the extract is given — given in increasing doses. At best it is only a doubtful palliative.
Only by removing the primary cause — as summed up in enervation and toxemia — can these cases really be restored to health. There is no cure for glandular insufficiency, except to correct the habits of life that are responsible for the enervation which has ended in secretory block. The use of gland extracts in these cases is a failure. The failure of insulin in diabetes is typical of the failure of all other gland extracts. Gland extracts may be used as a crutch by those whose glandular impairment, is too great for vital redemption or for compensation. All others should know that these extracts produce their own damages in the body and also that their use leads to an ignoring of cause.