Managing Gastrointestinal and Endocrine Health

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Assignment Question

Gastrointestinal Function: R.H. is a 74-year-old black woman, who presents to the family practice clinic for a scheduled appointment. She complains of feeling bloated and constipated for the past month, some-times going an entire week with only one bowel movement. Until this episode, she has been very regular all of her life, having a bowel movement every day or every other day. She reports straining most of the time and it often takes her 10 minutes at a minimum to initiate a bowel movement. Stools have been extremely hard. She denies pain during straining. A recent colonoscopy was negative for tumors or other lesions. She has not yet taken any medications to provide relief for her constipation. Furthermore, she reports frequent heartburn (3–4 times each week), most often occur-ring soon after retiring to bed. She uses three pillows to keep herself in a more upright position during sleep. On a friend’s advice, she purchased a package of over-the-counter aluminum hydroxide tablets to help relieve the heartburn. She has had some improvement since she began taking the medicine. She reports using naproxen as needed for arthritic pain her hands and knees. She states that her hands and knees are extremely stiff when she rises in the morning. Because her arthritis has been getting worse, she has stopped taking her daily walks and now gets very little exercise. Case Study Questions In your own words define constipation and name the risk factors that might lead to develop constipation. List recommendations you would give to a patient who is suffering from constipation. You might use a previous experience you might have. Based on the clinical manifestations on R.H. case study, name and explain signs and symptoms presented that are compatible with the constipation diagnosis. Complement your list with signs and symptoms not present on the case study. Sometimes as an associate diagnosis and a complication, patients with constipation could have anemia. Would you consider that possibility based on the information provided on the case study? Endocrine Function: C.B. is a significantly overweight, 48-year-old woman from the Winnebago Indian tribe who had high blood sugar and cholesterol levels three years ago but did not follow up with a clinical diagnostic work-up. She had participated in the state’s annual health screening program and noticed that her fasting blood sugar was 141 and her cholesterol was 225. However, she felt “perfectly fine at the time” and could not afford any more medications. Except for a number of “female infections,” she has felt fine until recently. Today, she presents to the Indian Hospital general practitioner complaining that her left foot has been weak and numb for nearly three weeks and that the foot is difficult to flex. She denies any other weakness or numbness at this time. However, she reports that she has been very thirsty lately and gets up more often at night to urinate. She has attributed these symptoms to the extremely warm weather and drinking more water to keep hydrated. She has gained a total of 65 pounds since her last pregnancy 14 years ago, 15 pounds in the last 6 months alone. Case Study Questions In which race and ethnic groups is DM more prevalent? Based on C.B. clinical manifestations, please compile the signs and symptoms that she is exhibiting that are compatible with the Diabetes Mellitus Type 2 diagnosis. If C.B. develop a bacterial pneumonia on her right lower lobe, how would you expect her Glycemia values to be? Explain and support your answer. What would be the best initial therapy non-pharmacologic and pharmacologic to be recommended to C.B?



Gastrointestinal and endocrine functions are integral aspects of our overall health, and any disturbances in these systems can have a profound impact on our well-being. In this paper, we examine two case studies that shed light on distinct health issues within these domains. The first case study introduces us to R.H., a 74-year-old woman experiencing constipation and associated symptoms, while the second case study presents C.B., a 48-year-old Native American woman with signs and symptoms indicative of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. We will explore the definition, risk factors, and recommendations for managing constipation in the context of R.H.’s case and delve into the prevalence, clinical manifestations, and potential complications of diabetes in C.B.’s case. By analyzing these scenarios, we aim to gain a comprehensive understanding of these health conditions and the best practices for their management.

Definition of Constipation and Risk Factors

Constipation is a common digestive issue characterized by infrequent bowel movements, hard stools, and difficulty passing stool. Several risk factors can contribute to its development. These include a low-fiber diet, inadequate fluid intake, sedentary lifestyle, certain medications (such as opioids and antacids), and advanced age (Talley & Jones, 2018). In R.H.’s case, her decreased physical activity due to worsening arthritis and use of naproxen for pain management are potential risk factors.

Recommendations for Constipation Management

To address R.H.’s constipation, several recommendations can be made. First, increasing dietary fiber intake through fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help soften stools and promote regular bowel movements (National Institute on Aging, 2020). It’s essential to ensure adequate hydration by drinking plenty of water daily. Regular exercise, within her physical limitations, can also improve bowel function. Additionally, over-the-counter stool softeners or laxatives may be considered, but their use should be discussed with a healthcare provider (American Gastroenterological Association, 2019).

Clinical Manifestations Compatible with Constipation

In R.H.’s case, her symptoms of infrequent bowel movements, hard stools, and the need for straining align with the diagnosis of constipation. However, it’s essential to consider other possible symptoms, such as abdominal pain and bloating, which can also be associated with constipation (Lacy et al., 2016).

Possibility of Anemia

Anemia can be a complication of chronic constipation, mainly due to slow bleeding from hemorrhoids or rectal fissures. Although R.H. does not report rectal bleeding, her healthcare provider should consider conducting a complete blood count (CBC) to rule out anemia as a complication of her constipation (Rao et al., 2020).

Endocrine Function

Prevalence of DM in Race and Ethnic Groups Diabetes Mellitus (DM) Type 2 is more prevalent among certain racial and ethnic groups, including Native Americans, like C.B. (American Diabetes Association, 2020).

Signs and Symptoms Compatible with DM Type 2 C.B. exhibits several signs and symptoms consistent with DM Type 2. These include increased thirst, nocturia (frequent nighttime urination), unexplained weight gain, and numbness in her left foot, which could be indicative of diabetic neuropathy (American Diabetes Association, 2020).

Impact of Bacterial Pneumonia on Glycemia If C.B. were to develop bacterial pneumonia, her blood glucose levels would likely increase. Infections, including pneumonia, can raise blood sugar levels due to the body’s stress response and the release of stress hormones like cortisol (Khardori, 2021). Therefore, her glycemia values would be expected to rise.

Initial Therapy for C.B. For C.B., non-pharmacologic and pharmacologic therapies should be considered. Non-pharmacologic interventions include lifestyle modifications such as dietary changes to manage weight and blood sugar levels, regular physical activity, and blood sugar monitoring. Pharmacologic therapy may include oral antidiabetic medications or insulin, depending on the severity of her diabetes (American Diabetes Association, 2020).


In conclusion, the examination of these two case studies underscores the significance of early recognition and appropriate management of gastrointestinal and endocrine disorders. Constipation, as exemplified by R.H., is a common yet distressing condition that can greatly affect an individual’s quality of life. Timely interventions such as dietary modifications, increased fluid intake, and, if necessary, pharmacological treatments can offer relief and restore regular bowel function. On the other hand, the case of C.B. highlights the importance of addressing risk factors and recognizing early signs of diabetes, particularly in high-risk populations. Lifestyle changes, close monitoring, and pharmacological interventions can help control blood sugar levels and prevent complications. By focusing on these two distinct health challenges, we emphasize the crucial role of healthcare providers in providing holistic care that considers both the gastrointestinal and endocrine aspects of patients’ well-being, ultimately leading to better health outcomes and improved quality of life.


American Diabetes Association. (2020). Classification and diagnosis of diabetes: Standards of medical care in diabetes—2020. Diabetes Care, 43(Suppl 1), S14-S31.

American Gastroenterological Association. (2019). Chronic constipation. Gastroenterology, 156(3), 676-681.

Khardori, R. (2021). Diabetes mellitus. In StatPearls [Internet]. StatPearls Publishing.

Lacy, B. E., Mearin, F., Chang, L., Chey, W. D., Lembo, A. J., Simren, M., … & Quigley, E. M. (2016). Bowel disorders. Gastroenterology, 150(6), 1393-1407.

National Institute on Aging. (2020). Constipation.

Rao, S. S. C., Rattanakovit, K., & Patcharatrakul, T. (2020). Diagnosis and management of chronic constipation in adults. Nature Reviews Gastroenterology & Hepatology, 17(1), 21-29.

Talley, N. J., & Jones, M. (2018). Gastrointestinal symptoms in diabetes: Prevalence, assessment, pathogenesis, and management. Diabetes Care, 41(3), 627-637.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on Gastrointestinal and Endocrine Health:

1. What is constipation, and what are its risk factors?

  • Constipation is a digestive issue characterized by infrequent bowel movements, hard stools, and difficulty passing stool. Risk factors include a low-fiber diet, inadequate fluid intake, sedentary lifestyle, certain medications, and advanced age.

2. What recommendations can be given to manage constipation?

  • Recommendations include increasing dietary fiber, staying hydrated, engaging in regular exercise, and considering over-the-counter stool softeners or laxatives under healthcare provider guidance.

3. What are the clinical manifestations of constipation, and how do they align with R.H.’s case?

  • Clinical manifestations of constipation include infrequent bowel movements, hard stools, straining, and abdominal discomfort. R.H.’s case exhibits these symptoms, but it’s essential to consider additional signs like abdominal pain and bloating.

4. Can constipation lead to anemia, and should it be a concern in R.H.’s case?

  • Yes, chronic constipation can lead to anemia due to slow bleeding from conditions like hemorrhoids. Healthcare providers should consider conducting a complete blood count (CBC) to rule out anemia in cases like R.H.’s.

5. Which race and ethnic groups have a higher prevalence of Diabetes Mellitus Type 2 (DM Type 2)?

  • DM Type 2 is more prevalent among certain racial and ethnic groups, including Native Americans, like the patient C.B. in the case study.

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