Thesis: Interrelatedness of Diseases

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Interrelatedness of Diseases

GRIM CAUSES, GRIM CONSEQUENCES

Type-2 Diabetes

Also called adult-onset or non-insulin-dependent diabetes, this is a chronic condition in the body's metabolism of sugar or glucose (Mayo Clinic Staff 2009). The body resists the effects or insulin or does not produce enough of it to maintain a normal glucose level. Glucose is the body's main source of fuel or energy. The consequences can be fatal if the condition remains untreated (Mayo Clinic Staff).

Symptoms -- These can develop very slowly for years and some may not even know it (Mayo Clinic Staff 2009). Main symptoms are increased thirst and frequent urination, increased hunger, weight loss, fatigue, blurred vision, slow healing of sores or frequent infections and darkened skin. (Mayo Clinic Staff).

Causes and Risks - The condition occurs when the body becomes resistant to insulin or the pancreas stops producing sufficient insulin (Mayo Clinic Staff 2009). The precise mechanism that causes this is still unknown. However, excess weight and physical inactivity are considered important factors. The hormone insulin is produced by the pancreas, a gland found just behind the stomach. When food is ingested, the pancreas secretes insulin into the bloodstream. When it circulates with the blood, it starts the mechanism whereby sugar may enter the body cells. It then lowers the amount of sugar in the bloodstream. Insulin secretion decreases when the blood sugar level goes down. Glucose or sugar is needed by body cells for energy. It comes from food consumed and the liver. After food is digested and absorbed, sugar goes to the bloodstream and then enters the cells with the help of insulin. Liver, on the other hand, stores and manufactures glucose. When insulin levels go down, it metabolizes stored glycogen into glucose to maintain a normal insulin level (Mayo Clinic Staff).

This normal process is disturbed in type-2 diabetes (Mayo Clinic Staff 2009). Instead of going to the cells, sugar or glucose remains and builds up in the bloodstream. This is because either the body cells resist the action of insulin or the pancreas does not produce enough insulin. While the direct cause of the disorder is not yet known, certain factors appear to increase the risk. These are weight, inactivity, family history, race, age and the conditions of pre-diabetes and gestational diabetes. . Overweight is a primary factor. The more fatty tissues in the body, the more resistant the cells become to insulin. Physical activity uses up more glucose as energy and increases body cells' sensitiveness to insulin. The risk increases if a parent or sibling has type-2 diabetes. Certain races appear to develop the disorder more than other races. These races include Blacks, Hispanics, American Indians and Asian-Americans. The risk seems to increase with age, especially after age 45. At this age, people tend to exercise less, lose muscle mass and gain weight. The disorder has, however, been recently observed to increase among children, adolescents and younger adult. A pre-diabetic condition often progresses to type-2 diabetes if left untreated. In the pre-diabetic condition, the blood sugar level is higher than normal but not high enough for a type-2 diabetes diagnosis. Gestational diabetes is one more risk factor. A woman with gestational diabetes has an increased risk of developing type-2 diabetes at a later time or if the baby weighs more than 9 pounds at birth (Mayo Clinic Staff).

Complications - Type-2 diabetes affects major organs, such as the heart, blood vessels, nerves, eyes and kidneys, in the long-term (Mayo Clinic Staff 2009). It can lead to various cardiovascular diseases and disorders, such as coronary artery disease with chest pain or angina, heart attack, stroke, atherosclerosis, and hypertension. It can also damage the kidneys' filtering system and lead to kidney failure. An irreversible end-stage kidney disease requires dialysis or a transplant (Mayo Clinic Staff).

The complications of type-2 diabetes are not immediately apparent in the patient when first diagnosed with COPD. But because type-2 diabetes affects the heart, blood vessels, nerves, eyes and kidney, the complications eventually manifest themselves in the succeeding diagnoses.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease or COPD

This is primarily a combination of two related diseases, chronic bronchitis and emphysema (Schiffman, 2009). Both involve chronic obstruction of airflow through the airways and out of the lungs. The obstruction is generally permanent and progressive. The major cause of COPD is smoking at 90%. Although not all cigarette smokers develop COPD, statistics said 15% will. Smokers with COPD have higher death rates than non-smokers with the disorder. They also suffer from frequent respiratory symptoms and deteriorating lung function more than non-smokers (Schiffman).

Complications

The main complication is lung damage, which is beyond repair (WebMD, 2009). The rate at which breathing becomes harder can only be slowed down and if the condition is still mild to moderate. Other complications include flare-ups or exacerbations in coughing and shortness of breath; more frequent lung infections like pneumonia; increased risk of osteoporosis; depression or anxiety; weight problems; heart failure on the right side of the heart; collapsed lung or pneumothorax; and sleep problems because of insufficient oxygen in the lungs (Schiffman).

COPD already compromised the patient's respiratory health and exposed him to lung damage; frequent lung infections, such as pneumonia; and insufficient oxygen in the lungs. These would eventually become evident. He also became vulnerable to heart failure.

High Blood Pressure or Hypertension

This condition means high pressure or tension in the arteries (Cunha 2009). Normal blood pressure is less than 120/80. Blood pressure between 120/80 and 139/89 is "pre-hypertension," and 140/90 or above is high. The number on top is the systolic blood pressure is the measurement of pressure in the arteries as the heart contracts and pumps blood into the arteries. The number below is the diastolic blood pressure, the measurement when the heart relaxes between contractions. An increase in these numbers exposes the person to health risks. The two forms of hypertension are essential and secondary. Essential hypertension accounts for 95% of all cases and secondary hypertension for 5% (Cunha).

Causes

The causes of high blood pressure are still unknown but certain factors are associated with it (Cunha, 2009). Advancing age, high salt intake, the African-American race, obesity, genetics, susceptibility and renal insufficiency are factors associated with essential hypertension. Kidney, adrenal and aortic artery abnormalities are associated with secondary hypertension (Cunha).

Complications

Elevation in blood pressure also increases the risk of cardiac or heart disease, kidney or renal disease, hardening of the arteries or atherosclerosis, eye damage and stroke or brain damage (Cunha, 2009). These complications are also called end-organ damage in that they are the result of chronic high blood pressure. According to the American Heart Association, one in three adults in the United States suffers from high blood pressure. This means 73 million people. Chronic or long-standing hypertension often leads to enlarged heart, kidney failure, damage in the brain or nerves, and changes on the retina (Cunha). Hypertension and hart attack are two of the complications of type-2 diabetes. Both hypertension and type-2 diabetes increase the risk of heart disease. Coronary artery disease, heart attacks, and chronic hypertension are among the causes of congestive heart failure.

Congestive Heart Failure or CHF

In congestive heart failure, the pumping capacity of the heart becomes inadequate to meet the body's need for oxygen (Kulick, 2009). The body regularly needs oxygen-rich blood in order to function. Diseases that weaken or make the heart muscle stiff or exert demand for oxygen beyond the capacity of the heart can cause CHF. Heart attacks or infections can weaken the muscles of the ventricles. Hemochromatosis or amyloidosis can stiffen the heart muscle and disturb the capacity of the ventricles to relax. Chronic hypertension is the most common cause. In other cases, disorders like hyperthyroidism can strain the heart and lead to high-output heart failure (Kulick).

Causes and Complications

Besides chronic hypertension, the other common causes of CHF are coronary artery disease, chronic alcoholism and disorder of the heart valves (Kulick, 2009). It can affect many organs and their functions. The weakened heart muscle may fail to supply sufficient blood to the kidneys. The kidneys lose the normal ability to eliminate salt and water. . They begin to retain more fluid. The lungs become congested with fluid, a condition called pulmonary edema. The person finds exercising difficult. Fluid may also accumulate in the liver and this disturbs or destroys its ability to eliminate toxins from the body and produce needed protein. The intestines are less able to efficiently absorb nutrients and medicines. Without treatment, CHF will gradually affect and damage all the other organs of the body (Kulick).

Chronic hypertension, the most common cause of CHF, is one of the causes of Myocardial Infarction or MI. The patient has earlier been diagnosed with diabetes mellitus, another cause of MI, and with COPD, of which smoking is the major cause. Smoking is another cause of MI.

Myocardial Infarction or MI

Incidence

MI is the irreversible necrosis of the heart muscle on account of prolonged ischemia

(Garas & Zafari, 2009). An imbalance… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Interrelatedness of Diseases.  (2009, November 30).  Retrieved July 18, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/interrelatedness-diseases/1699

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https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/interrelatedness-diseases/1699.