DECREASE OF RED CORPUSCLES OF The natural blood contains one hundred and twenty-seven parts in the thousand of corpuscular matter, made up in great part of the little circular red disks containing a substance known as in a thousand parts of which there is four and one-fifth of the metal iron. The corpuscles may be greatly re duced in amount without actual danger to life; but the reduction of them gives rise to paleness of the blood, and, as they are the bearers of the oxygen of the external air into the body, such reduction gives rise also to paleness and feebleness of the body, and to defective nutrition. The disease "anemia" is due to a reduction of red corpuscles in the blood, and the "anemic state," from the same cause, is present in many lingering and wasting diseases. The term "poor blood" is commonly used to indicate this state.
Injury and Destruction of Red Blood Corpuscles.
The red corpuscles of the blood are subject to injury, and even to destruction, by various agents acting on the body. By admixt ure of ammonia and of other alkalies with the circulating blood the corpuscles can be wholly or partly dissolved, made crenate at their margins, and irregular as if indented or notched. By the smoke of tobacco they are modified in a similar form. By alco hol taken freely into the body they are reduced in size, and lose their true rounded form, becoming long and "truncated." In blood surcharged with soluble saline substances they are reduced in size, shrunken. In blood surcharged with water they are in creased in size, lose their flattened form and depressed centres, and become of rounded or globular shape. In instances in which the blood is surcharged with carbonic acid, the corpuscles lose their red color, and the mass of the arterial as well as of the venous blood becomes dark in color.
Under all these varying states, the natural function of the blood corpuscle, its power to condense the oxygen of the air which it meets as it circulates through the lungs, and to convey oxygen into the ultimate tissues of the body for supporting the combustion and the nutritive changes, is perverted. Thereupon the healthy state of the body is rendered impossible, and various modifications of organic functions are set up, which, if long con tinued, lead, of necessity, to natural perversion of function and proclivity to disease.
Increase of the White Corpuscles of Blood. Leucocythemia.
Besides the red corpuscles there are, as we know, in the nat ural blood a number of other corpuscles, far less numerous than the red, which corpuscles are colorless, called therefore the white or colorless corpuscles of the blood. In some forms of disease, especially from changes in certain organs of the body, as the spleen, the white corpuscles increase, and the blood becomes sur charged with them, the red corpuscles being at the same time relatively decreased. The disease so produced is called " white blood cell disease," or leucocytluemia, a disease of serious import.
It is accompanied with paleness of the body, great languor am depression, and impaired nutrition. White blood cell disease i probably hereditary in character, and up to this time has bees little amenable to treatment. It was discovered in 1s45 by th late Dr. Hughes Bennett of Edinburgh, one of the few illustrious in medicine of this age.
Pawned Conditions of Blood.
The blood, lastly, may be charged with poisonous substanc which so interfere with its function that death may be the resu These poisons may be derived from without, as when a gases or vaporous body, such as nitric acid vapor, or chlorine gas, ammonia vapor is inhaled; or they may be derived from rig changes excited in the body itself by some animal poisons, st as snake poison, with which the body has been inoculated; they may be derived from substances which are natural to body formed in excess, such as urea, the natural soluble salt the urine. In yellow fever ammonia has been formed in such cess in the body as to reduce the blood to a fluid like port consistency, the corpuscles being dissolved altogether, and the coloring matter being diffused through the whole mass of blood like a dissolved coloring principle or dye.