Gastrointestinal System During examinations, patients often present with various symptoms. Often, these symptoms overlap multiple disorders within body systems—especially gastrointestinal (GI) disorders—which increases thedifficulty of diagnosing and treating patients. Consider a patient who presents with severe abdominal pain that has persisted for months. At first review, it might appear tobe inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowelsyndrome, or even cirrhosis, but upon closer inspection and testing, time-sensitive cancer is found. This was the case for Mary Keogh, a seemingly healthy retiree whospent her time traveling. Keogh was concerned because she started having sharp pains in her side whileexercising. After a series of tests, it was discovered that she had fatty liver disease, cirrhosis of the liver, and aliver tumor. Through extensive treatment and care,Keogh’s health has greatly improved. She credits heradvanced practice nurse with helping her through the treatment process. According to Keogh, her nurse“started me off well [and] told me how wonderful thedoctors are, that I was in the best possible hands and notto worry. She set the tone. I love her.” (The Universityof Chicago Medicine, 2011). As this case illustrates, it isimportant that you, as an advanced practice nurse, arenot only able to identify alterations of GI disorders inorder to assist physicians in timely diagnoses, but also toassist patients with the treatment process through support and patient education.This week, you explore various gastrointestinal disorders with a focus on the pathophysiology of cirrhosis of the liver. You also examine common drug treatmentsand patient education methodson the prevention of cirrhosis
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