Loss of tissue is so characteristic of pulmonary tuberculosis that it has given the popular name to the disease. Not the fat alone of the body is thus affected, but it is also observed in the muscles and organs. This loss of weight is so early a symptom that there would seem to be an inherent tendency in the disease in this direction. Still, a little consideration shows there are certain conditions capable of causing waste independently of any inherent influence in this direction. In most cases even of incipient phthisis there is a positive want of sufficient nourishment to supply the needs of the organism. This is due generally to a loss of appetite amounting to actual aversion for food, as well as to defective assimilation. In some, however, the appetite remains good, but either the digestion is imperfect or the system is incapable of appropriating the nourishment supplied.
JAMA – American Medical Association
Published: Oct 5, 1889