Other Pathogenic Factors
Besides the previously mentioned pathogenic factors there are also
pathogenic factors relating to irregular food intake, over-strain and
stress or insufficient physical exertion, traumatic injuries, parasites,
and pathological products such as phlegm-humor and blood stasis.
1. Irregular Diet
Over-eating or hunger: Voracious eating or hunger may give rise to
disease. Hunger causes malnutrition and leads to an insufficient supply
of qi and blood, which causes general body weakness. Overeating damages
the digestive and absorptive functions, and manifests the symptoms of
epigastric and abdominal distension and pain, belching, acid
regurgitation, anorexia, vomiting, diarrhea, etc.
Partiality for a particular kind of food: Food intake should be
varied. In this way necessary nutrient substances are guaranteed.
Partiality to a particular food may bring on disease due to insufficient
nutrients. For example: long-term intake of polished white rice may
cause beriberi; long-term drinking of iodine-deficient water may cause
goiter; indulgence in spicy or boiling hot food may give rise to dryness
of the mouth, halitosis, diabetes, etc.; indulgence in smoking, alcoholic
drinks, or greasy and highly flavored food may produce pathological
phlegm indigestion, stuffy chest, excessive sputum, or boils and ulcers.
Intake of contaminated food: Eating contaminated, poisonous, or stale food (food poisoning) may impair stomach and intestinal functioning causing clinical manifestations such as epigastric and abdominal distension and pain, nausea, vomiting, borborygmus, diarrhea, etc.
Over-strain and stress or deficient physical exertion: Lack of physical exertion may cause retardation of qi and blood circulation, unhealthy zang-fu organs, general weakness, lassitude, anorexia, dizziness, palpitation, insomnia, etc., also a liability to contract diseases caused by exogenous pathogenic factors. Prolonged over-strain may bring on lassitude, weakness and tiredness of the four extremities, dizziness, hypersomnia, palpitation, spontaneous sweating, asthma or dyspnea due to physical exertion.
In addition, traditional Chinese medicine considers that excessive sexual activity consumes the kidney essence manifested by soreness and weakness of the knees, lumbago, dizziness and vertigo, ringing in the ears, lassitude and listlessness, or even spermatorrhea, impotence, and leukorrhea.
2. Traumatic Injuries and Parasites
Traumatic injuries include incisions, gunshot and sword wounds, scalds
and burns, contusions, sprains or animal stings and bites. Mild cases
that only sustain injuries to the skin include pain, bleeding, bruises,
and hematoma due to the obstruction of blood vessels. While severe cases
may include injuries to the tendons, bones, and internal organs
manifesting as joint dislocation, fracture, hemorrhage due to rupture
of the internal organs, prostration, etc.
3. Blood Stagnation and Phlegm-Humor
Under normal conditions, blood circulates continually within the
blood vessels at a certain speed. Any retarded circulation of blood
or extravasated blood in spaces between the tissues
may form blood stasis. its syndromes are characterized as follows:
The pain location is fixed with local tenderness and has a stabbing or boring sensation.
Blood stagnation prevents normal flow inside the vessels causing extravasation and hemorrhage. The blood is often deep red or dark purplish.
Ecchymosis or Petechia
Blood stagnation subcutaneously forms ecchymosis or petechiae accompanied by local pain. Initially they present a red color, then change to purple or yellow, finally disappearing. If the tongue proper is purple, or ecchymosis or petechiae are present, this is significant in the diagnosis of diseases caused by blood stagnation.
Most mass tumors, especially large lumps in the abdominal cavity, are considered to be related to stagnation of the blood. The location of the tumors should be fixed and unmovable, accompanied by pain.
Phlegm-humor can form due to the accumulation of body fluids, therefore
it has a close relationship to functional disorders of the lung, spleen,
and kidney which control water metabolism. It may also be produced by an
over-indulgence in alcohol or fatty and highly flavored foods, leading
to stagnation of liver qi and derangement of the functional activities