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HEART DISEASES: DIAGNOSIS - DIGESTIVE DISORDER

The comparable effects produced by irritation of internal tissues must also be recognized in diagnosis, since marked changes in the heart's action may result therefrom. In particular, an inflamed or over-distended stomach can slow down the pulse rate to an impressive extent. This is most noticeable in nervous subjects, and even so common a condition as gastric flatulence may produce spectacular symptoms of cardiac abnormality. These effects are almost entirely produced through the nervous system, but need not give the patient any conscious discomfort. On the other hand, a distended stomach may press more or less directly upon the heart, and here there is likely to be distinct, perhaps severe, awareness of disorder.

Strain or distress in the lower abdomen may be equally responsible for upsetting the heart. In chronic cases, where abdominal pain is strong or persistent, the patient may develop signs of shock—a failure to maintain adequate circulation throughout the system. More acutely, straining at stool may result in a collapse for similar reasons, the victim in this case usually being elderly.

The essential implication of these links, between the action of the heart and disturbances within seemingly unrelated tissues, is that such possibilities must be considered before any diagnosis of a serious cardiac disorder is given. (It is possible, in certain cases and circumstances, for severe irritation elsewhere in the body to produce an apparent improvement in cardiac function. Murmurs due to valvular incompetence may be greatly diminished or even totally absent during spells of active intestinal irritation. The explanation of this is that the heart is drawn into a more compact mass, bringing together the cusps of the valves, which are thus enabled to improve their sealing action. However, these effects — although interesting — tend only to confuse diagnosis and are both too violent and too unpredictable to have any value as a therapy. It is no part of naturopathic philosophy to work for the suppression of one disorder by initiating or encouraging another.)

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Cardio & Blood