Archive for September, 2005
Psychosis: Unrecognized Mental Difficulties
A person with a psychosis has a mental difficulty of which he is not aware. People with delusions of grandeur, who may think they are someone else, or who have hallucinations, do not realize that their difficulties are unreal. And while it may be an elderly person who thinks he has many millions of dollars, or that he is Napoleon, these ideas were probably present at a much younger age, for age alone is rarely responsible for this development.
The treatment for psychoses, which can occur at any age, is long and difficult; it must be handled by a psychiatrist of great experience.
Neuroses: Recognized Mental Problems
A person with a neurosis has a mental difficulty of which he is aware. He knows that his worries, extreme anxiety and other mental sufferings are not normal, and this person frequently takes it upon himself to seek proper medical care.
All of us have known worriers, or people who fear innumerable things, or friends who have displayed odd behavior from childhood age on up through adulthood. One does not have to be fifty, sixty or seventy years of age to be neurotic. In fact, it would seem true that most people with neuroses are either in middle age or younger.
Treatment of neurosis again demands the services of an experienced psychiatrist, who ably and skillfully points out the source of difficulty to the person, and usually helps him to obtain relief of his difficulty.
Benjamin Franklin once said, “All would live long, but none would be old.” What should we actually expect of ourselves after sixty years? Must we eventually become senile and mentally old, or can we have a long life and still remain alert and bright with opinions others respect? The answer is simple. Age itself creates very few mental problems; it simply makes us more transparent and reveals the way we have actually been all of our lives. Thus, cranky and forgetful older people have usually been cranky and forgetful younger people, and bright young people usually develop into bright older people. Most of our world leaders, nearly all over sixty, are only carrying on the bright and alert way of life customary for them all of their years.
Only about 10 percent of the mental difficulties in later years can be blamed on age alone, and these troubles arise usually from arteriosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. This effects a reduced amount of blood circulating in the brain, with resulting easier fatigue, and loss of fine coordination. This of course, makes much more difficult the physical activity necessary in efforts like playing a violin, maintaining heavy concentration, or making public speeches. However, we do not consider these difficulties to be diseases, but merely a decrease in the ability of our skills and talents.
Actual mental diseases in later life are much the same in each person as they were in more youthful years. We are inclined to overlook the mental quirks of younger, physically able people who can work hard each day, but we are not so tolerant with older people after their physical abilities are gone and they become dependent on others. Many older people are therefore urged to seek medical help for mental diseases they have probably had since their youth. Because mental diseases are so poorly tolerated by surrounding family and friends, a startling fact has arisen-nearly half of the hospital beds in the United States are occupied by the mentally ill.
Through all of history, we have searched for the tools and know-how to lengthen our lives. It has always been the same; because more than anything else, we want to go on living. We have searched for a formula, possibly of drugs, ideas or ways of living that would insure for us a normal life span and afford us protection against an untimely death. This manual is dedicated to that search. Its intention is to give to non-physicians a concrete understanding of our vaguely understood human body functions and diseases. It represents a system of self-study and examination, not to replace our physicians, but to enable us to work with him hand in hand, in the discovery of any possible life shortening disease which might be in our own body.
Our health manual’s basic approach to each man’s health status is a practical self-examination, directed to each and every body section. The normal physical state is described for all areas, and any abnormal discoveries are explained as named disease possibilities. The examination is carried out from head to toe and explained in language devoid of any fortress-like terms which seem to defy pronunciation. No elaborate medical instruments or extra equipment are needed. The only requirements for our self-examination are our five senses, a few ordinary household articles, good light, and some privacy.
The second function of our manual is the translation of abnormal examination findings into definite named diseases which could possibly be present. There is an accompanying table of symptoms directed to each body area, which guides the reader to a sensible meaning for his bewildering disease symptoms. In this way, the reader may become familiar with his own body. “What is the meaning of my chest pain;-should I go on to my office anyway? What about blood in the bowel movement;-does it mean the worst? Is that lump I feel a cancer?”
Finally, the manual is intended for use as a reference book for the individual. Using the table of symptoms guide to each body region, this manual can be used to answer the question-”What is causing my difficulty.” No matter what our troubles are, we all want to know what it is that bothers us and why. We try to investigate our own difficulties, but most self-examinations are not satisfactory and considerable doubt about our difficulties usually remains to worry us. Examining ourselves has so often been inaccurate because all knowledge about our physical difficulties for many years has been completely delegated to the physician, leaving the average man today with a firmer grip on outer space problems than about his own health-his most valuable asset in life. Our physician of course, is the final authority for solution of all significant medical problems. However, an adult living in total ignorance of his own body’s functions and difficulties, is certainly not master of his own future. This book by repeated examination and explanation seeks to tear down the confusion curtain which hangs before those who try to study their own body difficulties.
In our adult years, discomfort and disease become more frequent, and some of us develop many difficulties. Sometimes we fear a possibly serious disease, but also fear to find out the truth about it and insurance company files will show that a large percentage of our population has not seen any doctor for many years. The files of the Old American Insurance Company, specializing in insurance for the senior age group, include the health records of many people over the age of sixty; these records reveal how little we do until too late, to uncover and stamp out many serious diseases for which effective medical treatment is readily available everywhere.
It is especially for this senior group that these pages are intended for by learning the meanings of the body’s signals and messages, they will achieve a giant stride toward the sensible quest of lengthening their lives.
Using this health manual will not make a doctor out of anyone; but it will introduce to us the avenues of thinking our physicians use when they try to deduce our diseases from our symptoms and physical faults. It will help us to present to our physicians more exact pictures of our troubles so that they can bring their skill to bear where it will help us most. But guaranteeing a longer life is difficult. If this were not true, fewer physicians would die at early ages. The facts are, it is not only simple ignorance of disease that invites our final hour, but more so the utter disregard of known disease. We can see that the road to longer life through the solid guarding of health can be pointed out, but it cannot be forced upon anyone.
The Over 50 Health Manual belongs on the shelf of every adult. It will give many interesting explanations of symptoms and diseases, and will also give truthful significance to the diseases possibly suffered by members of our own family. At the age of sixty, the most common diseases to be found and discussed in this manual are these:
Disease Found in % of 60-11ear-Olds
Heart Disease 57
Hernia (Rupture) 21
Eye Difficulty 18
High Blood Pressure 14
Prostate Disease 14 (Male Only)
Disease of the Female Organs …12 (Female Only)
Mental Disorder 11
Arteriosclerosis (Alone) 10
Hearing Difficulties 7
Kidney Disease 7
Growths and Cancer 7
Stroke-like Difficulties 2
Gall Bladder 1 +
All these diseases are discussed in an understandable manner in this manual, and the reader will be rewarded with explanations of disease symptoms as well as general recognition of disease itself within the body.
Everything known to medical science could not be put into one book, but the reader of this manual can easily derive for himself an education that should enable him to bring his diseases in their infancy to his physician, when the likelihood of a successful cure is greatest.