Discussion: factors that influence disease | NURS 6501 – Advanced Pathophysiology | Walden University
Patient Scenario: Mrs. Lee is a 60-year-old Asian female who presents to the clinic complaining of increasing fatigue, weight loss, and muscle weakness. She has a family history of autoimmune disorders, and her sister was recently diagnosed with Addison’s disease. Mrs. Lee’s physical examination reveals hyperpigmentation of her skin and mucous membranes.
Impact of Genetics: Genetics play a significant role in the development of Addison’s disease, with inherited mutations in genes involved in the adrenal gland’s function. Mrs. Lee’s family history of autoimmune disorders and her sister’s recent diagnosis of Addison’s disease increase her risk for the disorder.
Associated Alterations and Symptoms: Addison’s disease is a disorder in which the adrenal glands do not produce enough hormones, such as cortisol and aldosterone. As a result, patients may experience symptoms such as fatigue, weight loss, muscle weakness, low blood pressure, and hyperpigmentation of the skin and mucous membranes. Mrs. Lee’s presentation of these symptoms is consistent with Addison’s disease.
Pathophysiology of Associated Alterations: In Addison’s disease, there is a decreased production of cortisol and aldosterone due to damage to the adrenal cortex. Cortisol is responsible for regulating glucose metabolism, blood pressure, and immune function, while aldosterone helps to maintain electrolyte balance. The decrease in cortisol and aldosterone leads to altered cellular function, including decreased glucose utilization and decreased sodium reabsorption in the kidneys, resulting in low blood pressure and electrolyte imbalances. Additionally, the increased production of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) due to decreased cortisol negative feedback leads to hyperpigmentation of the skin and mucous membranes.
In conclusion, understanding the pathophysiology of disorders such as Addison’s disease is crucial for advanced practice nurses to provide appropriate patient care. Factors such as genetics can impact the development of the disorder and associated alterations and