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Examine the basic processes associated with disease.

By understanding how abnormal physiological processes cause and affect disease, you’ll gain a broader understanding of disease diagnosis and treatment. This course will examine the basic principles and processes of pathophysiology including:

  • Cellular communication
  • Genetics
  • Forms of cellular injury
  • Fluid and electrolytes
  • Acid-base balance
  • Immunity
  • Stress
  • Coping
  • Illness

You’ll understand how a breakdown of the body’s systems or functions impacts a person’s health, and review methods of diagnosis and treatment for conditions that result from these breakdowns.

Explore abnormalities including cellular dysfunction that results in tumors and cancer. You’ll consider the role of homeostasis in the proper functioning of the body as a whole. You’ll review the cardiovascular and pulmonary systems to better understand coronary artery disease, heart failure, lung disease and more. Diseases and conditions of the central nervous system—including brain injury—will be examined as you review the ways in which neurological functions impact physiologic processes.

You’ll focus on cholecystitis, gastrointestinal cancer, pancreatitis, and liver and kidney disease as you recognize the importance of proper gastrointestinal/genitourinary functioning. You’ll review factors that can lead to a breakdown in a body’s immune system and weaken its defense against foreign antigens.

You’ll also consider the many conditions related to proper hormone functioning, from parathyroid-gland disorders and diabetes to reproductive cancer, pregnancy, and sexually transmitted diseases. From bone healing after trauma to muscular dystrophy, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and skin disorders, you’ll see how musculoskeletal system breakdowns can affect health.

Sample Topics

  • Pathophysiology Overview and Cell Biology
  • Homeostasis
  • Cardiopulmonary System
  • Neurologic System
  • GI/GU Systems
  • Immune System
  • Endocrine and Reproductive Systems
  • Integumentary and Musculoskeletal Systems

Sample Assignment

You’ll work in a group to develop a concept map for the pathophysiology behind a specific illness and impact on nursing care. The physiologic system will be assigned by your professor, but illness will be determined by your group.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Analyze the basic anatomy and physiology of each organ system.
  2. Characterize the basic concepts of pathophysiology at the cellular level related to injury, the self-defense mechanism, mutation, and cellular proliferation.
  3. Examine the basic pathological factors that influence the disease process.
  4. Compare and contrast the relationship between normal physiology and pathophysiology in altered disease states.
  5. Analyze the impact and abnormal functions upon the organ(s) associated with the disease process of each organ system.
  6. Evaluate and apply current evidence-based practice to pathological changes in selected disease states.
  7. Correlate abnormal functions of the body systems with relevant disease processes.
  8. Predict the main focus of nursing care for selected diagnoses.

Programs that include this course