Ear pathology

| July 26, 2011 | 0 Comments | 351 views

• Asymmetries — as we have seen, both ears should be symmetrical in shape, and similar in size, color, and moisture. Compare the right and left auricles in relation to the pathologies listed above and evaluate the differences. In particular, note the location of these pathologies. Injury may account for some variation, so inquire about any injuries if there are gross differences between the two ears. Pathological changes can differ from ear to ear because pathology tends to occur in the same ear as on the affected side of the body or on the side corresponding to gender. Generally speaking, if the pathology is found on both ears, the pathology is more chronic.

• Abnormal color includes erythema, flushing, paleness, bluishblack coloration — erythema or redness is common in the ear. Red areas or marks can occur. Redness indicates Heat, Heat Stasis, or inflammatory disease. Consider the redness carefully by interpreting the Heat in relation to where the redness is found. For instance, a red mark on the Hemorrhoid point may indicate hemorrhoids due to Stagnant Blood with Heat or a red mark on the Common Cold point may mean a Wind–Heat invasion. Flushing colorations can be interpreted like red marks. Rashes are also interpreted this way. If red, the rash means Heat in the Blood or Heat leading to Blood Stasis. Paleness indicates Deficiency of the affected area. Bluish-black colorations are indicative of Cold Stagnation. Pale purple suggests Qi Stagnation and reddish purple signifies Blood Stagnation.

• Excess moisture or oozing rash — both of these findings indicate excess Dampness in the body. If the rash is red and oozing, Damp-Heat is the diagnosis.

• Abnormal hair growth — as men age, hair may be found in the auricle. This is a sign of hormonal changes that accompany the decline of Kidney Qi, which occurs with aging. Thus, the amount of hair in the auricle gives us an idea as to the state of the person’s Kidney Qi.

• Birthmarks — birthmarks can range in color from purple to blue, black, red, or faded brown. They are generally viewed as signs and symptoms of Stagnant Blood. Note where the birthmark is on the ear and then see if the patient has any Blood Stagnation in the corresponding area or organ of the body.

• Engorged blood vessels and abnormal blood color (blue, red, or purple) — inspect the ear for visible blood vessels. In addition to looking at the ear for the location of this sign, also consider the color of the blood within the vessel. Color differentiation can further assist you with understanding etiology and directing treatment. Blue blood in the vessel indicates Stagnation due to Cold. Heavy pain in the body corresponding to the area of the vessel on the auricle is another further indication of Blood Stagnation due to Cold. Red denotes Heat and/or Heat Stasis. Pale purple is Qi Stagnation and reddish purple is Blood Stagnation with Heat.

• Dilated capillaries, varicosities, hyperpigmentation, and capillary clustering — dilated capillaries or varicosities (blood engorged vessels or blood extravasations) on the ear indicate circulatory problems elsewhere in the body, such as varicose veins in the legs or insufficiency of circulation to body parts such as the hips. The Knee and Ankle points commonly exhibit capillary clustering. Hyperpigmentation and capillary clustering, which are also signs of Blood Stagnation, can be seen if there are old, unresolved lesions.

• Boils, blisters, warts, lesions, moles, papules, and pimples — boils or blisters indicate Damp-Heat or Toxic Heat in the body. Interpret the location of Toxic Heat by examining the area on the ear where

the boil develops. If papules and pimples are red, they indicate Heat; if white, Dampness. Red moles and reddish pink warts also point to Heat in the Blood. If the mole is brown or black (a stronger form of Heat), Fire is present.

• Bruises — bruises, indicative of Blood Stagnation or Blood extravasations, do not develop spontaneously on the ear. If bruises are present, they are caused either from ear therapies or from other external sources, such as trauma to the ear. However, the ear will not bruise with the proper application of ear modalities. If bruising does occur, check that you and your patient are applying the modalities appropriately.

• Dark spots, petichiae — dark spots (vs. a bruise) can develop on the ear. They also indicate Stagnation. The patient may have pain in the area of the body corresponding to the dark spot. Petechiae are small dots that are generally red or purple. Petechiae indicate Heat Stasis (if red) or Blood Stasis (if reddish purple).

• Depressions, grooves, and creases, such as Frank’s sign — depressions and small pore-like structures found on points that are not inherently concave indicate deficiency in the corresponding body part or organ. For instance, if the Spleen area tends to be depressed, Spleen Qi Deficiency is indicated. The Lung and Heart points frequently are depressed indicating Lung Qi deficiency in the former and Heart Qi deficiency in the latter case. Frank’s sign was first reported in 1973 by pulmonologist Saunders Frank. Romoli et al.2 remind us that “Frank’s sign, a diagonal crease on the earlobe, is detectable especially after the age of 40. This is commonly accepted as a sign of coronary heart disease even in Western medicine.” The crease extends from the Lower Blood Pressure point laterally on a diagonal (see Figure 7.1). A person with Frank’s sign is significantly more likely (eight times more likely) to die from heart disease than a person without such a crease. Those with a crease and established heart disease are three times more likely to die from heart disease as those with established heart disease and no crease. Most studies link Frank’s sign with high cholesterol as the precipitating factor in heart disease. Some authors report an association between anxiety and coronary heart disease. Romoli et al.2 write, “Our work group of 143 patients with ear lobe creases showed — in both sexes and in all examined decades (fifth, sixth, and seventh) — higher levels of anxiety than in the control group.” Like all ear pathologies, Frank’s sign can retreat if the person’s health improves. If the fissure on the lobe heals, according to Kushi,3 then the person is eating a macrobiotic diet (i.e., no animal fat, which helps reduce high cholesterol and coronary artery disease).


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