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[ANSWERED] An 83-year-old resident of a skilled nursing facility presents to the emergency department with generalized edema of extremities and abdomen. History obtained from staff reveals the patient has history

Discussion: Alterations in Cellular Processes

At its core, pathology is the study of disease. Diseases occur for many reasons. But some, such as cystic fibrosis and Parkinson’s Disease, occur because of alterations that prevent cells from functioning normally.

Understanding of signals and symptoms of alterations in cellular processes is a critical step in diagnosis and treatment of many diseases. For the Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN), this understanding can also help educate patients and guide them through their treatment plans.

For this Discussion, you examine a case study and explain the disease that is suggested. You examine the symptoms reported and explain the cells that are involved and potential alterations and impacts.

To prepare:

  • By Day 1 of this week, you will be assigned to a specific scenario for this Discussion. Please see the “Course Announcements” section of the classroom for your assignment from your Instructor.

Scenario: An 83-year-old resident of a skilled nursing facility presents to the emergency department with generalized edema of extremities and abdomen. History obtained from staff reveals the patient has history of malabsorption syndrome and difficulty eating due to lack of dentures. The patient has been diagnosed with protein malnutrition

By Day 3 of Week 1

Post an explanation of the disease highlighted in the scenario you were provided. Include the following in your explanation:

  • The role genetics plays in the disease.
  • Why the patient is presenting with the specific symptoms described.
  • The physiologic response to the stimulus presented in the scenario and why you think this response occurred.
  • The cells that are involved in this process.
  • How another characteristic (e.g., gender, genetics) would change your response.

Expert Answer and Explanation

Protein Malnutrition Disease and Physiological Response

Role of Genetics

An individual may develop protein malnutrition because of a wide spectrum of factors including their gene structure. Genetics particularly can cause one to develop the disease considering that it influences people’s preferences for certain types of food. This means that depending on one’s genetic composition, one may not like certain foods, and this may cause a scenario in which they only take food rich in non-protein nutrients (McCance & Huether, 2019). This may ultimately cause the deficiency of these nutrients.

Reason for the Symptoms

Based on the case study, the patient has a generalized edema, and there is a possible explanation for this. The albumen protein performs the role of holding salts as well as water. This protein can be found in the blood vessels, and when it is available in short supply, the fluid leak into tissues. Accordingly, this causes one’s abdomen to swell (Coulthard, 2015). The swelling of the extremities can also result from the leakage (McCance & Huether, 2019). Considering the problem with the patient’s dentures, this could be a possible reason for his ill health.

Physiological response

The patient responds physiologically to the stimuli. Due to the decline in the blood’s protein, it becomes difficult for the absorption of the salts and water to occur. In response to this, the patient experiences loss of energy and loss of muscle mass. It is due to the decline in the level of this protein that the patient’s muscle mass reduce (Semba, 2016).

Cells for the Physiological Response

The endothelial cells are responsible for the physiological response which occur in the patient. These cells are important when it comes to the absorption of salts and water. Their role in the regulation of these substances explains why they are important in this response.

Other Factors

Age is a key element that can raise one’s risk of developing the illness.


Coulthard M. G. (2015). Oedema in kwashiorkor is caused by hypoalbuminaemia. Paediatrics and international child health35(2), 83–89. Doi:

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

Semba R. D. (2016). The Rise and Fall of Protein Malnutrition in Global Health. Annals of nutrition & metabolism69(2), 79–88.Doi:

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