WK 1 Discussion- Alterations in Cellular Processes

WK 1 Discussion- Alterations in Cellular Processes

A 27-year-old patient with a history of substance abuse is found unresponsive by emergency medical services (EMS) after being called by the patient’s roommate. The roommate states that he does not know how long the patient had been lying there. Patient received naloxone in the field and has become responsive. He complains of burning pain over his left hip and forearm. Evaluation in the ED revealed a large amount of necrotic tissue over the greater trochanter as well as the forearm. EKG demonstrated prolonged PR interval and peaked T waves. Serum potassium level 6.9 mEq/L The role genetics plays in the disease. Why the patient is presenting with the specific symptoms described. The physiologic response to the stimulus presented in the scenario and why you think this response occurred. WK 1 Discussion- Alterations in Cellular Processes. The cells that are involved in this process. How another characteristic (e.g., gender, genetics) would change your response.

Role of Genetics in the Disease

Epigenetics can explain the role of genetics in substance abuse. Exposure to the environment can change a person’s DNA to increase survival and adaptation. It alters a person’s heath and the traits passed from one generation to another (Andersen et al., 2015). Besides, substance abuse can result in alterations in the DNA causing an increase in the production of proteins that contribute to addiction and drug-seeking behavioral patterns.

Why the Patient Is Presenting With the Specific Symptoms Described

The patient’s presentation was because of an opioid overdose since the patient became responsive after the administration of naloxone. Naloxone is a competitive antagonist against opioid receptors (Plein & Rittner, 2018). The pain he experienced over his left forearm and hip was because of the deactivation of the analgesic effects of opioids by naloxone. Cellular injury from tissue hypoxia caused the necrotic tissue over the forearm and greater trochanter.

The Physiologic Response to the Stimulus Presented In the Scenario and Why You Think This Response Occurred

An opioid overdose caused the patient to be unresponsive and unconscious. At the mu receptor agonist, opioids will increase the dopamine levels in the peripheral, gastric, and central nervous system. High levels of dopamine cause a wide range of symptoms including sedation, dysmotility of the GIT, apnea, respiratory depression, euphoria, and analgesia (Fox et al., 2018).


The Cells That Are Involved In This Process

Cellular damage occurs when there is ATP depletion, damage to mitochondria, an influx of calcium in the intracellular space, and damage to cellular proteins and DNA. Cellular damage occurs when there is ATP depletion, damage to mitochondria, an influx of calcium in the intracellular space, and damage to cellular proteins and DNA. Cellular hypoxia causes anaerobic metabolism which causes acidosis, reduced ATP, and an overload of cellular calcium. ATP depletion destroys the Na, K, and ATPase pumps. The outcome is an intracellular accumulation of Na+ and an overflow of K+ with subsequent hyperkalemia (Viera & Wouk, 2015). WK 1 Discussion- Alterations in Cellular Processes.

How another Characteristic (E.G., Gender, Genetics) Would Change Your Response

A person’s genes and environmental exposure increase the risk of specific diseases. Comorbidities such as diabetes, cancer, asthma, and mental illnesses have a genetic predisposition (Genes and human diseases, 2020). The diseases manifest differently in various ethnicities. For instance, most Africans suffer from cardiovascular-related issues compared to other communities.


Andersen, A. M., Dogan, M. V., Beach, S. R., & Philibert, R. A. (2015). Current and Future Prospects for Epigenetic Biomarkers of Substance Use Disorders. Genes6(4), 991–1022. https://doi.org/10.3390/genes6040991

Fox, L. M., Hoffman, R. S., Vlahov, D., & Manini, A. F. (2018). Risk factors for severe respiratory depression from a prescription opioid overdose. Addiction113(1), 59-66.

Genes and human diseases (2020). World Health Organization. https://www.who.int/genomics/public/geneticdiseases/en/index3.htm

Plein, L. M., & Rittner, H. L. (2018). Opioids and the immune system–friend or foe. British Journal of Pharmacology175(14), 2717-2725.

Viera, A. J., & Wouk, N. (2015). Potassium Disorders: Hypokalemia and Hyperkalemia. American Family Physician, 92(6), 487–495.WK 1 Discussion- Alterations in Cellular Processes.