ASCITES and edema are abnormal conditions that may produce an increase in weight which is not of the fatty type.
A gain in weight may be caused by edemaan abnormal condition of the body which causes a retention of fluids in the tissues beyond the normal. Even in normal persons a little too much salt will cause a retention of water. In people with diseased kidneys the amount which may waterlog the tissues is considerable. A similar effect may be produced by the continuous use of sodium bicarbonate. A diet rich in starch and sugar causes a far greater storage of water than one rich in fats. The importance of this fact about fats, together with the greater satiety value of fat and the properties of a fatty meal to induce emptying of the gall bladder, will be referred to later when the dietetics of obesity is considered.
Ascites is the name applied to the accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity. This condition may occur in heart disease, Bright’s disease, cirrhosis of the liver, or in any condition which causes an obstruction to the circulation of the lungs, peritonæum or liver by cancer, tuberculosis or syphilis. I recall that when I was an interne I removed twenty gallons of fluid over a period of five months from an alcoholic patient with cirrhosis of the liver.