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DISEASES OF THE KIDNEYS.
The function of the kidneys is to drain off from the blood cer tain elements of that fluid which are no longer required in the animal economy. Many of these substances are products which are formed in the different organs of the body during the natural processes of life ; these substances are produced during those chem ical changes which are necessary for the performance of the vital functions ; they may, therefore, be likened to the smoke and the ashes resulting from the combustion of fuel under the boiler of a locomotive ; unless this smoke and these ashes be removed further combustion is of course impossible, the fire dies out and the ma chine ceases to run. So it is in regard to the human body ; the fuel which is taken into the body through the stomach and the lungs undergoes certain chemical processes which may be likened to combustion, and is transformed into certain wraste products which we have likened to smoke and ashes. Unless these waste products be removed, further combustion and therefore further activity of the animal machine is impossible.
Several organs in the body are especially designed to secure the escape of these waste products out of the blood in which they circulate ; these organs are the kidneys, the lungs, the skin, the intestines and the liver. All of these, however, except the kidneys, have also other duties to perform ; the kidneys alone seem to accom plish no other work than the separation of waste materials from the blood. A large part of these waste products are, therefore, thus separated - or excreted, as it is technically termed - by the kidneys alone ; and any serious interference in the performance of the functions of the kidneys is manifested within a short time by symptoms due to the retention of these waste products in the blood. These facts have been often demonstrated by experiments upon animals. If, for example, the channels which conduct the urine from the kidneys-the ureters - be tied, so that no urine can escape, the result is the death of the animal within a few days or even hours. This fatal result is preceded by symptoms which are due to the accumulation of certain substances in the blood ; the same effects are observed if the kidneys be removed from the living animal. In either case the animal soon becomes restless ; the skin exhales profuse perspiration, which has often an odor like that of urine ; some hours later vomiting and diarrhea occur, the vomited matter also emitting an odor similar to that of urine. Meanwhile, the constitutional disturbance of the animal increases, symptoms of derangement of the mental functions become manifest, and finally convulsions, stupor and death occur.
The history of an animal after such an operation is valuable as showing the effects produced upon the animal body by the retention of materials which should be and usually are expelled from the body by the kidneys ; and it is especially interesting because precisely similar symptoms, including the fatal result, occur in the human subject also when the excretion of the urine is arrested. Although the ureters are never tied intentionally in man, yet they are some times just as effectually obstructed by the presence of minute stones - kidney stones - which are occasionally formed in the kidneys.
Instances are on record in which symptoms quite similar to those produced by tying the ureters in an animal have been observed in human patients, whose ureters have been found upon examination after death to be obstructed by kidney stones. So, too, the removal of both kidneys from the human subject has never been performed ; but very similar symptoms have been repeatedly observed in cases in which the kidneys were so disorganized by disease as to be incapable of doing their work, so that the individual was practically left without kidneys. In many cases one kidney has been removed from the human subject, the remaining kidney being usually competent to perform the work of both ; but in a few remarkable instances the removal of one kidney has been followed by all the symptoms which occur in animals after the removal of both kidneys, and in these remarkable cases it has been found after death that, by a singular accident of formation, the individuals in question possessed originally only one kidney, the removal of which left the patient literally without any kidneys, and conse quently resulted in death.
Another point of interest in the experiment upon animals, to which allusion has already been made, is the fact that when the kidneys fail to perform their functions their work is assumed, so far as may be, by the skin and the intestines. For it is observed in human patients as well as in animals, that when the kidneys are in active, the perspiration is increased in quantity, emits a urinous odor, and actually contains some of the ingredients of the urine, while the secretions of the stomach, which are ejected by the act of vomiting, are found similarly supplied with certain constituents of the urine, as evinced by the characteristic odor.
The danger to be apprehended in disease of the kidneys is, therefore, such an interference with the separation of waste mate rials from the blood as will cause an accumulation of these materials in the system, notwithstanding the efforts of the skin and of the intestines to eliminate them ; and the treatment of diseases of the kidney comprises, therefore, in general, first, the effort to restore the kidneys to the natural condition of activity ; and, second, the attempt to excite the skin and alimentary canal to such temporary activity as will suffice to keep the system clear of these poisonous materials until the kidneys shall have had time to resume their usual work.
CONTENTS OF DISEASES OF THE KIDNEY.
-Acute Bright's Disease: symptoms, treatment.
-Chronic Bright's Disease: symptoms, treatment.
-Stone in the Bladder: symptoms, treatment.
-Sugar in the Urine (Diabetes):
symptoms, cause, treatment.
-Diabetes Insipidus: symptoms, cause, treatment.
->Addison's Disease : treatment
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