Share
Explore BrainMass

Disease/Organ Malfunction

The human body is truly remarkable and is designed to function effectively. Organs are important structures composed of different tissues that facilitate specific functions within the body. Organs function as part of an integrated group of structures known as organ systems. These organ systems form the organizational units that are responsible for crucial processes necessary for sustaining life.

Examples of organ systems include but are not limited to the cardiovascular system, the digestive system, the musculoskeletal system, the nervous system, the excretory system, the endocrine system and the respiratory system. Even organ systems do not function alone. These systems work together, interacting with other organs in a functional network that keeps the body in balance. (Look up the term homeostasis in your text.) When homeostasis or the normal functioning of organ systems is disrupted, disease may develop causing injury to the body, or even death. In this assignment, you will explore organ systems, as well as associated diseases or malfunctions.

Assignment details:

Take a look at the following case studies that detail an outcome associated with a disease/organ malfunction. Select one study to investigate further for your assignment.

Critically evaluate the information provided and correlate it with the organ systems that are affected in the scenario. Use the information that you have gathered to answer the assignment questions that follow the case study. For assistance with your assignment, please use your text, the AIU Library, Web resources, and course materials.

Case Study 1:

Atherosclerosis is narrowing of arteries caused by the accumulation of fatty deposits on the arterial walls.

On June 22, 2002 the St. Louis Cardinals were preparing for their upcoming baseball game against the Chicago cubs. Concern arose when their prized pitcher, 33-year old Darryl Kile did not show up for practice. Soon after, he was found still in his hotel room where he had suddenly died in his sleep (New York Times, 2002). It was discovered that the cause of death was related to three of his coronary arteries being 80-90% blocked as a result of atherosclerosis (New York Times, 2002), which ultimately caused him to undergo a heart attack.

Answer the following assignment questions:

Why would atherosclerosis result in a heart attack? Provide a brief explanation based on how the heart functions.
How are arteries different from veins and capillaries? Describe the functions of both arteries and veins.
Vertebrates and some invertebrates have a closed circulatory system. Explain the advantage of having a closed circulatory system over an open circulatory system?
Briefly explain how the lymphatic system is associated with the circulatory system?
Describe one disease that affects the lymphatic vessels similarly to the way that atherosclerosis affects the arteries?
Case Study 2:

Cigarette smoking remains the leading preventable cause of death in the United States, causing an estimated 438,000 deaths - or about 1 out of every 5 - each year (National Cancer Institute, 2008).

Mr. Amos is now 57 years old and has been smoking for the past 30 years of his life. A recent doctor's visit reveals that Mr. Amos has stage 3 lung cancer, characterized by his symptoms of nagging chest pain, fatigue, coughing up blood, substantial weight loss, and increased carbon dioxide levels in his blood. The doctor informed Mr. Amos that had he quit his smoking habit several years ago, he would have reduced his risk for developing lung cancer later in life. Mr. Amos immediately begins treatment for the lung cancer that has metastasized to his lymph nodes.

Answer the following assignment questions:

What main components in cigarettes affect the respiratory system? Explain their effects on specific organs, cells and/or processes in the respiratory system.
There are alternate mechanisms of transporting carbon dioxide (CO2) and oxygen (O2 ) in the blood. Explain how smoking might lead to increased levels of carbon dioxide in the blood.
Can smoking affect other organ systems of the body? Give specific examples and briefly explain your answer.
How can you correlate cellular respiration with the respiratory system?
Does smokeless tobacco present a reduced risk for lung cancer and other smoking associated diseases? Provide evidence for your answer.
Case Study 3:

Gigantism is abnormally large growth during childhood caused by excess growth hormone secreted by the anterior pituitary gland.

Robert Wadlow, born on February 22, 1918, weighed a normal eight pounds, six ounces. However, by the time Robert reached the age of six months old, he weighed 30 pounds (Hamilton, 1993). Within only a year, his weight rose to 62 pounds, more than double the normal weight of a baby at 18 months. Aside from his weight, Robert continued to grow at an astounding rate, reaching six feet, two inches and 195 pounds by the time he was eight years old. Robert's unique size was attributed to an over active pituitary gland, which produced much higher than normal levels of growth hormone. At the time of his death in July 1940 at the age of 22, Robert had reached a height of 8 feet 11.1 inches and weighed 485 pounds (Hamilton, 1993).

Answer the following assignment questions:

How does growth hormone regulate various body functions in adults, and what could cause the excess secretion of growth hormone?
Discuss the relationship between growth hormone and insulin, and are there complications associated with their interaction?
Why is gigantism usually more difficult to treat than dwarfism?
Give examples of two other hormones secreted by the pituitary, and briefly describe how they specifically affect other organ systems of the body?
Some athletes have resorted to the illegal use of anabolic steroids to increase strength and muscle size. How are anabolic steroids different from growth hormone? Briefly explain your answer.
References

Baseball: Coroner Verifies the Cause of Kile's Death as Natural (2002, July 17). The New York Times. Retrieved: http://www.nytimes.com/2002/07/17/sports/baseball-coroner-verifies-the-cause-of-kile-s-death-as-natural.html?ref=darryl_kile

Hamilton, S. (1993) Looking back and up: At Robert Pershing Wadlow, the gentle giant. Illinois: Alton Museum of History and Art.

National Cancer Institute (2008). Tobacco Statistics Snapshot. Washington, DC. Retrieved from: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/tobacco/statisticssnapshot#0_references

For assistance with your assignment, please use your text, the AIU Library, Web resources, and all course materials. Please refer to the following multimedia course material(s):

Unit 4: The Endocrine System
Unit 4: The Cardiovascular System
External Web links:

Unit 4: Heart Anatomy & Circulatory Information
Unit 4: Health-cares.net

Solution Preview

Case Study 1:

Atherosclerosis is narrowing of arteries caused by the accumulation of fatty deposits on the arterial walls.

On June 22, 2002 the St. Louis Cardinals were preparing for their upcoming baseball game against the Chicago cubs. Concern arose when their prized pitcher, 33-year old Darryl Kile did not show up for practice. Soon after, he was found still in his hotel room where he had suddenly died in his sleep (New York Times, 2002). It was discovered that the cause of death was related to three of his coronary arteries being 80-90% blocked as a result of atherosclerosis (New York Times, 2002), which ultimately caused him to undergo a heart attack.

Answer the following assignment questions:

Why would atherosclerosis result in a heart attack? Provide a brief explanation based on how the heart functions.
How are arteries different from veins and capillaries? Describe the functions of both arteries and veins.
Vertebrates and some invertebrates have a closed circulatory system. Explain the advantage of having a closed circulatory system over an open circulatory system?
Briefly explain how the lymphatic system is associated with the circulatory system?
Describe one disease that affects the lymphatic vessels similarly to the way that atherosclerosis affects the arteries?

Introduction

What is the heart and its function?

The heart is a cone-like structure with a pointed, inferior part called the apex; and a broad, superior part called the base. (1) The heart has four chambers: two superior chambers known as the right and left atria, and two inferior chambers known as the right and left ventricles. The right atrium receives blood from the superior vena cava, inferior vena cava, and coronary sinus. (1) The right ventricle receives blood from the right atrium, and is separated from the left ventricle by the interventricular septum. It pumps blood through the pulmonary valve into the pulmonary trunk. (1) The function of the heart is to pump oxygen rich blood and nutrients to all parts of the body. The heart circulates oxygenated blood throughout the body. Oxygenated blood travels into the left atrium from the pulmonary veins and exits through the bicuspid (mitral) valve. Oxygenated blood is pump by the left ventricle through the aortic valve into the aorta. (1)
The left side of the heart is responsible for systemic circulation, where blood is pump throughout the body, except for the air sacs of the lungs. The left ventricle ...

Solution Summary

Disease and organ malfunctions are discussed. An evaluation of information provided and correlated for organ systems are critically examined is provided.

$2.19