Nasal allergy (also known as allergic rhinitis), allergic asthma and eczema are some commonly found clinically atopic diseases. General public might view them separately as three different diseases. Yet being a doctor, we usually see these conditions, either two or three types, happening at the same time. Why’s that?
The relation between Nasal Allergy, Asthma and Eczema
In general, it is more comprehensible that one suffers from nasal allergy and asthma at the same time since both diseases are related to pathological changes of the respiratory system. One of the Chinese Medicine concepts says that “the nose is the opening of the lung”. Continuous stimuli and inflammatory responses can cause nasal allergy. If it spreads out to the lower respiratory tract, asthma could be triggered. Eczema, which is a kind of pathological change in the skin, might not seem to have any relationship with the respiratory system but it is actually related. In Chinese Medicine the “lung is a connector of skin and hair”. Therefore, eczema, nasal allergy and asthma are all interrelated.
To summarize, the three mentioned diseases are considered as atopic diseases which is their common ground. The presence of atopic diseases is usually related to the patient’s body status. Patients who are not able to withstand extrinsic stimuli well respond vigorously and their body triggers an allergic reaction! Chinese medicine believes that in this situation the body has a “deficiency of Qi”.
Western medicine in general would treat the patients suffering from the above diseases with anti-allergic drugs, and/or steroids, and/or antibiotics. The effect is insignificant and might repeat the responses again. Long-term intake of such medication could cause various levels of side effects such as pilosity, moon facies, buffalo hump (symptoms of Cushing’s syndrome), high blood pressure, diabetes and osteoporosis. Chinese medicine would view the above diseases as a proof of the “deficiency of Qi” (正氣不足 zhengqibuzu) with Qi deficiency in both, lung and spleen. The treatment should mainly benefit and nourish the lung and spleen. The spleen should be nourished based on the earth element* in order to tonify the lung (metal element*), while reducing sputum and clearing dampness.
*Based on the Inter-promoting cycles in the five elements theory of Traditional Chinese Medicine
[staffbio staffname=”Dr Yue-Feng Guo”]Registered Chinese Medicine Practitioner
PhD Integrated Chinese and Western Medicine
M.D. Chinese Medicine Gynecology, B.D. Chinese Medicine[/staffbio]