They may be very troublesome in fat and especially in elderly people who are overweight. When drugs and climatic treatment fail to relieve the fat bronchitic, a reduction of the body weight will often do so by allowing the patient to breathe more deeply with ease.
Following the cure of pulmonary tuberculosis, care must be taken not to gain too much weight. Von Nordeen says: “These patients frequently take on large quantities of fat, and in some cases the very fatness they strive to acquire may be the means of their undoing, interfering, as it may, with exercise and with breathing.”
Drinking vinegar to reduce weight may end in the production of tuberculosis, as shown by the following story told nearly a hundred years ago in the London Medical Gazette:
“A few years since, a young lady in easy circumstances, enjoying good health, was very plump, had a good appetite, and a complexion blooming with roses and lilies. She began to look upon her plumpness with suspicion, her mother being very fat and she afraid of becoming like her.
Accordingly she consulted a woman, who advised her to drink a small glass of vinegar daily; the counsel was followed and the plumpness soon diminished. She was delighted with the success of the remedy and continued it for more than a month. She began to have a. cough, but it was at first dry and regarded as a cold that would sub-side. But from being dry, it was presently moist. A slow fever came on, with difficult breathing; her body became lame and wasted away; night sweats, with swelling of the feet, succeeded, and a diarnccea terminated her life. On examination, all the lobes of the lungs were found filled with tubercles, and somewhat resembled a bunch of grapes.”