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NURS 6501 Week 4: Alterations in the Cardiovascular and Respiratory Systems

NURS 6501 Week 4: Alterations in the Cardiovascular and Respiratory Systems

The case study depicts n 11-year-old boy presenting with complaints of wheezing and difficulty in breathing. The symptoms are exaggerated by playing basketball and improved by rest. However, the symptoms are worsening and occur at rest. The child is allergic to cat dander. Auscultation reveals wheezes on forced expiration in all lung fields.

Cardiovascular and Cardiopulmonary Pathophysiologic Processes

The patient is likely to have a diagnosis of Asthma. Asthma has a complex pathophysiologic process that involves airway inflammation, recurrent airflow obstruction, and bronchial hyperresponsiveness (Bonini & Usmani, 2015). Airway hyperresponsiveness in Asthma occurs as a result of an exaggerated response to endogenous and exogenous stimuli. There is direct stimulation of airway smooth muscles and indirect stimulation by pharmacologically active substances from cells that secrete mediators (Bonini & Usmani, 2015). Mediators contribute to inflammation of airways, which leads to obstruction. Obstruction occurs from swelling of the airway membranes, which causes a reduction in the airway diameter (Bonini & Usmani, 2015). The bronchial smooth muscles that enclose the airways contract causing bronchospasm, which results in further narrowing of the airways. There is also an increased production of mucus, which reduces the airway size and can entirely plug the bronchi.

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Racial/Ethnic Variables That May Impact Physiological Functioning

People from minority racial and ethnic groups have a high likelihood of experiencing adverse symptoms and life-threatening Asthma exacerbations. Factors that contribute to airway hyperreactivity and asthma triggers include environmental allergens such as animal allergens and house dust mites (Milligan, Matsui & Sharma, 2016). Environmental pollutants such as dust and smoke and occupational exposures further contribute to airway hyperresponsiveness. The majority of individuals from minority racial and ethnic groups live in low-socioeconomic settings, which are characterized by environmental toxins and pollutants (Washington et al., 2018). This puts individuals from minority groups at a high risk of developing Asthma.

Asthmatic patients from minority racial and ethnic groups also have frequent asthma exacerbations. This is due to living in overcrowded areas full of pollutants such as smoke and dust mites (Milligan, Matsui & Sharma, 2016). Besides, they live close to domestic animals, which trigger exacerbations.

NURS 6501 Week 4: Alterations in the Cardiovascular and Respiratory Systems



Bonini, M., & Usmani, O. S. (2015). The role of the small airways in the pathophysiology of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Therapeutic advances in respiratory disease9(6), 281-293.

Milligan, K. L., Matsui, E., & Sharma, H. (2016). Asthma in urban children: epidemiology, environmental risk factors, and the public health domain. Current allergy and asthma reports16(4), 33.

Washington, D. M., Curtis, L. M., Waite, K., Wolf, M. S., & Paasche-Orlow, M. K. (2018). Sociodemographic factors mediate race and ethnicity-associated childhood asthma health disparities: a longitudinal analysis. Journal of racial and ethnic health disparities5(5), 928-938.


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