Constitution and disease
Constitution and disease
Constitution is closely related to pathogenesis. That is why TCM pays great attention to constitutional factors.
The definition of constitution
Constitution is formed before birth and can be improved after birth. It is stable and also changeable.
Theoretically, constitution is the manifestation of the functional state of the internal organs, demonstrating the condition of qi, blood, yin and yang in the body. The body resistance in fighting against pathogenic factors is the specific manifestation of constitution in pathogenesis.
Temperament, a concept related to constitution, is a special response of constitution in psychology. Different constitution pairs with different temperament and vice versa.
The formation of constitution
Congenital essence is the base of constitution and decides the state of constitution. If constitution is different, its susceptibility to invasion of pathogenic factors is also different. Many hereditary or familial diseases all are related to the constitution of parents and their illness. Besides, the maternal nursing and care during pregnancy exerts great effect on the constitution of fetus.
After birth, the base of constitution is fixed and usually unchangeable. In this sense, the congenital base of constitution influences the whole life of a person. However, the living state after birth also influences constitution. TCM holds that the cultivation of health after birth can accumulate essence to improve constitution, making strong constitution stronger and weak constitution better. On the contrary, lack of proper cultivation of health after birth may make strong constitution weaker and weak constitution worse or fatal. Of course the change of constitution is a slow process.
Specific immunity obtained from illness or vaccination is an important way to develop a certain kind of special constitution.
The classification of constitution
Constitution varies from person to person and the study of such a variation is helpful for expounding pathogenesis.
Constitution is generally classified into two categories: strong constitution and weak constitution. For thoroughly explaining the pathogenesis of various diseases, there are different ways to divide constitution in TCM, generally including classification according to Fin and Fang theory, classification according to five elements theory, classification according to the viscera, classification according to qi, blood and body fluid, and synthetic classification. These ways to classify constitution are complicated, the following is a brief introduction to some commonly encountered types of constitution.
Constitution with superabundant yang
Superabundance of Fang produces heat. So this type of constitution is marked by reddish complexion, sonorous voice, warm hands and feet, dry stool, slightly yellowish urine, tolerance to cold and intolerance to heat as well as slightly rapid pulse. This kind of syndrome can be further divided into specific types according to location of heat in different viscera, such as up-flaming of heart-fire, hyper-activity of liver-Fang and exuberant fire in the heart and the liver, etc.
Constitution with superabundant yin
Superabundant Fin produces cold. So this type of constitution is marked by bluish complexion, low voice, cold hands and feet, soft stool, clear urine, tolerance to heat and intolerance to cold as well as slightly slow pulse, etc. This kind of syndrome can be further divided into specific types according to location of cold in different viscera, such as retention of cold in the lung, stagnation of cold in the liver meridian and accumulation of cold in the spleen and stomach, etc.
Constitution with deficiency of yang
Deficiency of yang generates cold. So this type of constitution is marked by whitish complexion, cold feet and hands, spontaneous sweating, impotence, diarrhea, profuse clear urine and deep-slow pulse. This kind of syndrome can be further divided into specific types according to location of cold in different viscera, such as insufficiency of heart-yang, insufficiency of spleen-yang, insufficiency of kidney-yang (decline of fire in life-gate), etc.
Constitution with deficiency of yin
Deficiency of yin means insufficiency of yin-essence and deficiency of yin generates heat. So this type of constitution is marked by reddish cheeks, emaciation, feverish sensation in the soles and palms, dysphoria, insomnia, night sweating, seminal emission, dry stool, scanty brownish urine and thin-rapid pulse, etc. This kind of syndrome can be further divided into specific types according to location of heat in different viscera, such as insufficiency of heart-yin, insufficiency of liver-yin, insufficiency of lung-yin, insufficiency of spleen-yin and insufficiency of kidney-yin, etc.
Constitution with deficiency of qi
Deficiency of qi means insufficiency of the primordial qi and deficiency of qi leads to hypofunction of the viscera. So this type of constitution is marked by sallow complexion, dispiritedness, lassitude, low voice, poor appetite and weak pulse, etc. This kind of syndrome can be further divided into specific types according to the viscera involved, such as insufficiency of heart-qi, insufficiency of lung-qi, insufficiency of spleen-qi and insufficiency of kidney-qi, etc.
Constitution with deficiency of blood
Blood deficiency leads to malnutrition of the viscera. SO this type of constitution is marked by pale complexion, dizziness, numbness of limbs, weakness of limbs, pale lips and nails, insomnia, dreaminess, scanty light-colored menses, light-colored tongue and thin-weak pulse, etc. This kind of syndrome can be further divided into specific types according to the viscera involved, such as insufficiency of heart-blood and insufficiency of liver-blood, etc.
Constitution with exuberant dampness