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Problems of the scalp

Examination of the Scalp

Stand under a bright light, before a close-up mirror and observe the hair and scalp closely.
1. Note that the hair is lightest where the scalp is thinnest, on top, in the temples, and just back of the very top. The normal scalp has 1,000 hairs per square inch. Baldness be gins from this number on down to no hairs at all.
2. Gently scratch the scalp between the hair shafts. A loosening of snowy skin scale from the scalp or under the finger nail, without doubt, means dandruff.
3. Fix the palm on top of the scalp and move it in all directions. It should be freely movable and entirely painless. A painful swelling on the scalp, especially in back, may mean boils or carbuncles.

Scalp difficulties

Common Baldness. More than ninety-six percent of all baldness is found in men. Hardly a disease, baldness nourishes a mil-lion-dollar-a-year business for checking, preventing or curing this malady.

Two interesting facts about baldness are known. 1. A strong inherited tendency influences hair growth, and most men can predict their hair life from their father’s and grandfather’s hair. 2. Male sex hormones are important in baldness because they stimulate scalp oil secretion, usually associated with loss of hair. We see also that the time of greatest hair loss occurs when the male sex hormones flow in the blood stream at the highest level, and if castration should occur before maturity, baldness would be rare. A bald man, therefore, can be comforted with the thought that the loss of his hair is proof of his virility.

Baldness as a Disease. Only about 4 percent of baldness results from disease. Scalp disease and high temperature from bodily disease are most frequently the cause of this baldness. Most of these disease types of baldness are only temporary and therefore, curable. The best-known and most often cured baldness is the patchy, moth-eaten type called alopecia-areata. This baldness difficulty always clears up regardless of the treatment.

Dandruff is a flaking off of dead skin. It is not serious, and appears to some degree in everyone. Further difficulty however, results when a lack of routine cleaning of the scalp, allows these small flakes to accumulate and form crusts that irritate the scalp, and cause it to itch. This condition with an over-supply of oil, dandruff and crusted lesions about the hair line is called seborr-hea. Prevention of seborrhea demands an effective routine scalp cleaning, for removing excess oil and crust accumulation, plus a diet regulation best prescribed by the physician or skin doctor.

Boils and Carbuncles. These infections usually occur on the neck, and occasionally the scalp. The neck is an ideal region for bacteria to establish infection, because collars and clothing so often erode this skin area and allow bacteria to enter under the skin surface to start boils. If bacteria from boils tunnel in several directions under the skin and start an accumulation of numerous small boils, a carbuncle is formed. This is often very difficult to cure whether in the neck or scalp.

Covering the infection with a clean bandage gives some protection against further infection but opening and draining a boil is usually necessary for complete recovery. Mother Nature herself often performs this operation by a heading and bursting process, but when pus accumulation is too deep, an incision and drainage may be necessary. Carbuncles, much more than boils, require a thorough incision and drainage operation of the many infected tunnels in the surrounding skin. Only a doctor should attempt to incise and drain so serious an infection.

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Congestive Failure and Coronary Occlusion of the heart

Heart Failure {Congestive Failure, Dropsy). The normal heart pumps more than enough blood for all body functions, but the diseased heart may not be able to pump the minimum required by the body, and then heart failure is said to be occurring. The heart does not fail all at once but by slow degrees, and is usually


Fig. 59. Heart or anginal pain (in shaded region) is variable, generally left-sided, also in the left arm. Pain distribution is due to nerve arrangements to and from the heart region. Pain in the left arm is, therefore, usually more significant than pain in the right arm.

marked by increasing shortness of breath, pressure in the chest and a frequent flip-flopping sensation of the heart. Water logging of the body may be noticeable as heart failure begins and body water begins gravitating down into the lower legs. Normal size legs in the morning then become considerably swollen by evening.

Caused by diseases which greatly weaken the heart muscle, heart failure is often a result of childhood rheumatic fever, or in later years, arteriosclerosis of the heart arteries themselves. The physician can markedly strengthen the weakened heart with digitalis-like drugs, and other drugs effective in combating the heart failure, to promote a stronger normal heart function.

Heart Attack (Coronary Occlusion, A Coronary). Heart attack means a sudden block of a coronary (heart) artery by a blood clot stopping the blood flow to a quickly damaged portion of the heart muscle. If this damage is slight, it might even go unnoticed, but if damage to the heart is severe, it is likely to stop beating, with death following quickly. It is apparent that there are many degrees of severity in heart attacks.

The pain in the chest can be excruciating, causing nausea, weakness, pallor and perspiration similar to extreme exhaustion, and the patient may collapse. A heart attack is nearly always suspected, but cannot be known with accuracy until an electrocardiogram has been taken. Possible candidates for heart attack are the fifty-year-old (and younger) individuals, including those who have never known any discomforts or disease. Most vulnerable of all is the person with already existing heart disease who must take extra precaution to spare his heart, and promote as strong and healthy a heart muscle as possible.

The person who dies a few moments after his heart attack could not benefit from any known treatment, but for those who live through the early attack, the physician, with marvelous drugs, can greatly magnify chances of survival. A yearly check-up of the heart condition in all people of fifty years is necessary for sane regard of good health.

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