The Thames Star of 1911 admonished readers that "you do not respect your hearts as much as you ought to." Women, when they had done a hard days shopping then fainted when they got home, were advised "it is your poor old heart that finds itself too weary to pump the blood up into the brains." Men who trained for rowing or boxing trained their biceps and calf muscles,but neglected their hearts "and fall out before the race is finished because the heart has not been trained to stand the strain."
Envisioning the heart as an organ with an occupation the Star continued "perhaps you forget that your heart is really a muscle...it works all day and all night and even attends to business on holidays and Sunday . . .It never strikes for higher pay: it only demands care and good food."
The stomach had a lot to answer for - "it receives the food as it is swallowed, is quite close to the heart, and when it is distended with wind the heart is pressed against and its action disturbed; hence the treatment of palpitation is to pay no attention to the heart but to direct the treatment to the digestion. In these cases look after the stomach, and the heart will take care of itself."
Smoking was recognized as a danger - "cigarettes act as a heart poison, especially the very cheap kind: you must not smoke cigarettes until you are 21, and then you must exercise your own discretion." Silly boys, steamed the Star, "who smoke cigarettes in large numbers because it looks grand ought to be locked up. Their hearts are certain to suffer."
Sex, of course, was fatal - even the mere thought of it - "anxiety makes the heart beat faster; the flutter of a beloved petticoat sends the pulse rate up and the heart acts feebly in times of depression and misery."
For the sake of our hearts one must maintain a cheerful and steady temperament, counselled the Star before adding perhaps the wisest advice - still relevant today - "a man who flies in a temper over trifles a dozen times a day throws a heavy strain on the heart; it is a very expensive habit to keep a bad temper."
Thanks to Thames Hospital and Waikato Hospital Cardiac Care unit. We are (both) on the mend now!
|Pain, smothering, choking, fainting, no pulse - not to worry! It's probably only a heart attack - have a swig of this!|
Disquieting advertisement from less enlightened times (1909)