The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 12, Issue 3 (June 1, 1937)
Rheumatism.—A disease with fever, pain, inflamation and swelling of the joints.
This scourge of modern life is familiar to us all. Even if we ourselves have escaped it (and no doubt we have a secret feeling that we might not always be so fortunate) we have come into contact with sufferers afflicted with rheumatism.
We have in the past more or less looked upon rheumatism as a liability that age is called upon to accept, but now we are realising that it is no respecter of age and should consider why so many persons have it, and how we can try to protect them. Rheumatism attacks children even more insiduously than adults, and in their case the joints are less often affected than the throat, heart and nervous system.
Children predisposed to rheumatism should not be over-excited or overworked. They need a placid, cheerful existence, and any signs suggestive of rheumatism should be treated thoroughly without delay.
In early childhood the so-called “growing pains” may indicate a rheumatic tendency, and the attacks of tonsilitis and sore throats should be attended to with the utmost care.
We particularize here a few factors which play an important part in the causation of rheumatism:
1. Actual germs producing poisons in the system and a slight injury in a joint or muscle or other part of the body causes the trouble to settle there.
2. Uric acid in the system.
3. Various glands failing to function properly.
4. Insufficient exercise.
5. Neglect of the teeth.
6. Excess of starchy foods and meat is susceptible to rheumatism.
7. Insufficient fluids—partake freely of water, barley water, lemon and orange drinks, etc.
8. Sleeping in damp beds, or exposure—rheumatic fever may result, eventually causing various heart troubles.
Dealing generally with the above, we realise how easy it is to neglect our general health and allow ourselves to become prone to develop the characteristic aches and pains which, if neglected, may ultimately lead to rheumatoid arthritis, lumbago or sciatica. First of all it is very important to have adequate suitable daily exercise, and to resist the frequent temptations of using motor cars, tram cars, etc.
We should be grateful to be able to walk a few miles daily instead of allowing ourselves to be driven from place to place. What equals the buoyant feeling experienced after a brisk walk?
Diet naturally comes in for a fair share of attention and we can help to keep ourselves free from this disease by a light nutritious diet of foods rich in vitamins, such as butter, milk, fish, fresh fruits and vegetables and an avoidance of an excess of starchy foods and meat.
In conclusion, we might add that the cause of rheumatism varies in each individual and that a person susceptible to this complaint may even acquire it if her tissues become “run down” for any reason.
Much can be done by attention to our general health to check the ravages of rheumatism, and it seems a small price to pay for freedom from this disease which is gradually claiming more and more victims.