To assess the relationship between disease symptoms and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) syndrome (Zheng) in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients.
RA Patients were recruited in Guang’anmen Hospital, China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences and in the Second Affiliated Hospital of Zhejiang Chinese Medical University, and diagnosed with a particular RA Zheng from their symptoms. Demographic characteristics, self-reported symptoms, and blood samples were collected from patients. All data were input into EpiData and analyzed using SPSS software.
The study included 302 RA patients (age range: 18-86 years). All patients were Chinese, and 85.1% were women. Cold and fatigue triggers were reported by 8.6% of patients, followed by triggers such as childbirth (4.3%), cold (3.0%), dampness (2.0%), menopause (1.3%), and psychentonia (0.7%). The most prevalent Zheng was dampness and heat blockage (Shire Yuzu in Chinese, SRYZ), diagnosed in 39.4% of patients (119), followed by phlegm and stagnation blockage (Tanyu Bizu, TYBZ) in 21.5%, liver and kidney deficiency (Ganshen Buzu, GSBZ) in 18.5%, dual deficiency of Qi and blood (Qixue Liangxu, QXLX) in 9.6%, cold and dampness blockage (Hanshi Bizu, HSBZ) in 6%, and wind and dampness blockage (Fengshi Bizu, FSBZ) in 5%. Increased length of time since RA diagnosis was associated with the GSBZ group. Patients diagnosed with the SRYZ Zheng had the highest disease activity score. Patients diagnosed with the QXLX Zheng had the lowest blood platelet counts; patients diagnosed with the QXLX and HSBZ Zhengs had lower C-reactive protein levels and lower health assessment questionnaire scores. Patients diagnosed with the GSBZ and QXLX Zhengs had the highest health assessment questionnaire scores.
The specific Zheng was related to RA characteristics. The findings suggest that eliminating dampness, cooling the patient, and promoting blood circulation may assist in treating severe RA.