NURS 6501 Pathophysiology Discussion Week 1 Case Study 

Sample Answer for NURS 6501 Pathophysiology Discussion Week 1 Case Study Included After Question

An understanding of cells and cell behavior is a critically important component of disease diagnosis and treatment. But some diseases can be complex in nature, with a variety of factors and circumstances impacting their emergence and severity.

Effective disease analysis often requires an understanding that goes beyond isolated cell behavior. Genes, the environments in which cell processes operate, the impact of patient characteristics, and racial and ethnic variables all can have an important impact.

An understanding of the signals and symptoms of alterations in cellular processes is a critical step in the diagnosis and treatment of many diseases. For APRNs, this understanding can also help educate patients and guide them through their treatment plans.

In this Assignment, you examine a case study and analyze the symptoms presented. You identify cell, gene, and/or process elements that may be factors in the diagnosis, and you explain the implications to patient health.


Be sure to review the Learning Resources before completing this activity.
Click the weekly resources link to access the resources.


To prepare:

By Day 1 of this week, you will be assigned to a specific case study for this Case Study Assignment. Please see the “Announcements” section of the classroom for your assignment from your Instructor.

The Assignment

Develop a 1- to 2-page case study analysis in which you:

  • Explain why you think the patient presented the symptoms described.
  • Identify the genes that may be associated with the development of the disease.
  • Explain the process of immunosuppression and the effect it has on body systems.


Submit your Case Study Analysis Assignment by Day 7 of Week 2.

Reminder: The College of Nursing requires that all papers submitted include a title page, introduction, summary, and references. The sample paper provided at the Walden Writing Center provides an example of those required elements (available at to an external site.). All papers submitted must use this formatting.


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A Sample Answer For the Assignment: NURS 6501 Pathophysiology Discussion Week 1 Case Study 

Title: NURS 6501 Pathophysiology Discussion Week 1 Case Study 

The case study depicts an 83-year-old resident who presents to the ED with generalized edema of extremities and abdomen. The medical history reveals the patient has a history of malabsorption syndrome and difficulty eating secondary to lack of dentures. The patient has been diagnosed with protein malnutrition.   

The Role Genetics Plays In the Disease 

The patient developed protein malnutrition secondary to malabsorption syndrome, which results in impaired nutrient absorption. Genetics plays a role in Malabsorption syndrome as the defects in the absorption process can result from an inherited disease of the mucosa and congenital defects in the intestinal membrane transport systems (Zuvarox & Belletieri, 2020). For instance, mutations in the MTP gene result in Abetalipoproteinemia characterized by defective apoproteins, which impair chylomicron packaging and secretion into the lymphatics. 

An important gene associated with protein malnutrition is Albumin. Its related pathways and superpathways include Folate Metabolism and FOXA2 and FOXA3 transcription factor networks (Benjamin & Lappin, 2019). Genetic defects in either of these pathways are associated with the altered metabolism of proteins resulting in depletion of albumin and eventually protein malnutrition.   

Why the Patient Is Presenting With the Specific Symptoms Described 

Protein malnutrition is characterized by peripheral edema in a patient suffering from starvation. The patient presents with generalized edema of extremities and abdomen, which is attributed to a loss of fluid balance between hydrostatic and oncotic pressures across capillary blood vessel walls (Benjamin & Lappin, 2019). Normally, Albumin concentration maintains the oncotic pressure, which allows the body to keep fluids within the vasculature. A patient with Protein malnutrition has profoundly low levels of albumin and, as a result, is intravascularly depleted (Benjamin & Lappin, 2019). Subsequently, antidiuretic hormone levels rise in response to hypovolemia, resulting in edema. Plasma renin also responds aggressively, resulting in sodium retention and ultimately generalized edema. 

NURS 6501 Pathophysiology Discussion Week 1 Case Study 
NURS 6501 Pathophysiology Discussion Week 1 Case Study

Physiologic Response to the Stimulus Presented In the Scenario  

In the case scenario, the patient has developed protein malnutrition due to inadequate intake secondary to a lack of dentures. Protein malnutrition develops only when the diet provides marginal amounts of macro-and micronutrients (Benjamin & Lappin, 2019). Inadequate intake and malabsorption syndrome resulted in reduced albumin levels, which resulted in a loss of fluid balance and eventually generalized edema.  

The Cells That Are Involved In This Process 

In protein malnutrition, the cell membranes are impaired throughout the body resulting in an intercellular movement of potassium and water and dysfunction in all organ systems. Electrolyte imbalances occur including, a profound decrease in potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus an increase in sodium levels, which corresponds to a loss of intracellular ions (McCance & Huether, 2019). Cardiac output is reduced on average by 30%, and renal fractional sodium excretion is reduced by up to 70% in protein malnutrition. Fat accumulates in the hepatic intracellular space due to a diminished ability to transport and metabolically process fat. In addition, the villi of the ileum are atrophied, and the brain atrophies in the white matter (McCance & Huether, 2019). The immune system is also affected and is characterized by a reduced function in Complement, T-cell, and intracellular bactericidal activity. The thymus atrophies and immunoglobins are increased, but their reaction is atypical.  

How another Characteristic Would Change My Response 

If the patient was female, the protein malnutrition could have been attributed to various factors such as low social status, women’s reproductive biology, poverty, and lack of education (Zuvarox & Belletieri, 2020). Sociocultural traditions and cultural disparities in household work patterns can also increase a woman’s chances of developing protein malnutrition. 



Benjamin, O., & Lappin, S. L. (2019). Kwashiorkor. In StatPearls [Internet]. StatPearls Publishing. 

McCance, K. L. & Huether, S. E. (2019). Pathophysiology: The biologic basis for disease in adults and children (8th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Mosby/Elsevier. 

Zuvarox, T., & Belletieri, C. (2020). Malabsorption Syndromes. In StatPearls [Internet]. StatPearls Publishing.