Pathology of Blood
In terms of Chinese medicine theory, the pathology of Blood can be broken down into three main areas and has close connections with Qi and the pathology of Qi.
- Blood Deficiency – Blood is deficient if it cannot be manufactured in sufficient quantities. The main cause of this is Spleen Qi deficiency, as it is the Spleen which is responsible for forming and controlling Blood. If Blood is deficient, its functions of nourishing and moistening decline. This usually results in:
- A pale complexion
- Rough skin
- Numbness or impaired movement of the limbs
- Menstrual problems including scanty period, delayed menstruation or even amenorrhoea. As Blood is considered the material basis for the mind, if it becomes deficient, a person may also experience insomnia with frequent dreams, forgetfulness, fidgiting, lack of vitality or spirit, and even delerium and unconsciousness.
- Blood Stasis – This is a failure of the Blood to move properly and stagnate. This is normally caused by three main factors: Qi Stagnation (mainly Liver-Qi), Heat or Cold. Blood Stasis is usually considered to be a more severe form of Blood Stagnation. Blood stasis normally manifests as a fixed stabbing pain, which is aggravated by pressure or at night. It is ommonly accompanied by swelling and possible local bruising. Other classic signs of Blood stasis include cyanosis (a dark complexion with purplish lips and nails), a dark purple tongue with petichiae and a pulse which is choppy or knotted and intermittent.
- Blood Heat – Blood has a natural preference for warmth, however, excess heat can cause pathologcial changes to Blood and is mainly related to Liver-Heat, although it can also be caused by Blood Stasis, phlegm, dampness or dryness. Excess heat in the Blood accelerates circulation and can lead to bleeding syndromes in severe cases.
As Qi and Blood are so intimately connected, conditions arising from the pathology of blood can affect the Qi and vice-versa.