Posted: May 21st, 2023

BIOL121 ASSIGNMENT 3: Written assessment

BIOL121 ASSIGNMENT 3: Written assessment
Scenario — Elastigirl
Elastigirl is a 30-year-old female, who has presented to the antenatal clinic for a routine prenatal visit. She has generally felt very well throughout her pregnancy and exercised regularly but is starting to feel more and more tired as her pregnancy progresses. Elastigirl reports she has been suffering from severe headaches over the last week or so and has been taking paracetamol tablets to dull the pain. She also reports some discomfort in her upper abdomen after eating and drinking and swelling in her feet and ankles. Elastigirl is vegan and, although she considers her fluid and caloric intake to be adequate, admits that she probably isn’t careful enough when ensuring she eats enough high calcium foods.
A physical examination and urinalysis were conducted. Results below.
Physical examination:
Height 164 cm Weight 63 kg Appearance Clean, neat appearance, mild oedema in feet and ankles Pregnancy status 34 weeks pregnant Temperature 36.2 C Blood work Blood group: 0-Fasting blood glucose = 6 mmol/L BP 150/95 mm Hg Respiratory rate 22 bpm Diet Vegan, low calcium intake Past patient history Non-smoker. Regular check-ups during pregnancy. All previous screenings of blood, urine, and blood pressure within normal ranges. Exercises regularly. Social status Works as a customer assistant and lives with her husband and their daughter, Violet.
0.4 mg/dL
Specific Gravity

All topics and their key points listed below must be discussed in your essay
Topic 1: Reproduction (10 marks total)
A simple pregnancy test using Elastigirl’s urine helped to confirm her pregnancy. Which hormone is detected by a typical home pregnancy test? Discuss the role of this hormone in pregnancy. (5 marks)
Considering Elastigirl’s circumstances, describe the future role of oxytocin on uterine tissue during childbirth. (5 marks)
Topic 2: Respiratory system (5 marks total)
Describe the changes in volume and pressure that will be occurring in Elastigirl’s chest cavity to achieve inhalation while she is sitting in the examination room. Explain why these changes are occurring, and the effect upon airflow. (5 marks)
Topic 3: Digestion/metabolism (8 marks total)
Elastigirl enjoyed her favourite tofu scramble for breakfast today. Unfortunately, painful indigestion meant she had to promptly follow her meal with a couple of Mylanta® chewable tablets. Discuss how Mylanta® would affect digestion of the protein in Elastigirl’s meal. (4.5 marks)
State the hormone that will be MOST active in maintaining Elastigirl’s blood calcium levels if adequate calcium is not obtained from her diet. Explain your answer. (3.5 marks)
Topic 4: Pharmacology (7 marks total)
The antenatal nurse mentions to Elastigirl that the doctor might prescribe her Dithiazide tablets, which act as a diuretic.
Discuss the route of administration of Dithiazide, where the drug is likely to be absorbed after administration, and its likely bioavailability. Justify your response by discussing whether the drug would be subjected to hepatic first pass. (4 marks)
What effect will the thiazide have on other drugs that Elastigirl may take, such as paracetamol? In your answer, relate to the mechanism of action of thiazide. (3 marks)
©ACU 2023 2

Topic 1: Reproduction

A typical home pregnancy test detects the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) in the urine. hCG is produced by the developing placenta shortly after implantation occurs, typically around 6-12 days after fertilization. The presence of hCG in urine indicates the occurrence of pregnancy.

The role of hCG in pregnancy is vital for the maintenance of the corpus luteum in the early stages. The corpus luteum is responsible for producing progesterone, which is essential for maintaining the uterine lining and supporting the early pregnancy. hCG stimulates the corpus luteum to continue producing progesterone until the placenta takes over its production later in pregnancy. Without adequate levels of progesterone, the uterine lining would shed, leading to the termination of the pregnancy.

During childbirth, oxytocin plays a crucial role in uterine contractions. Oxytocin is produced by the hypothalamus and released by the posterior pituitary gland. In response to the stretching and stimulation of the cervix and uterus during labor, oxytocin is released in increasing amounts. Oxytocin stimulates the uterine muscles, causing rhythmic contractions, and helps to facilitate the progress of labor. It also plays a role in stimulating milk ejection during breastfeeding.

Topic 2: Respiratory system

During inhalation, several changes occur in Elastigirl’s chest cavity while she is sitting in the examination room. These changes involve an increase in volume and a decrease in pressure within the chest cavity.

To achieve inhalation, the diaphragm contracts and moves downward, while the intercostal muscles contract and elevate the ribcage. These actions increase the volume of the chest cavity, specifically the thoracic cavity. As the volume of the thoracic cavity increases, the lungs expand, resulting in a decrease in intra-alveolar pressure.

The decrease in intra-alveolar pressure creates a pressure gradient between the atmosphere and the lungs, causing air to flow from an area of higher pressure (atmosphere) to an area of lower pressure (lungs). This airflow allows fresh oxygen to enter the alveoli and facilitate gas exchange.

Topic 3: Digestion/metabolism

Mylanta® is an antacid medication that contains aluminum hydroxide and magnesium hydroxide. It works by neutralizing excess stomach acid and providing relief from indigestion.

In the context of Elastigirl’s protein digestion, Mylanta® would not have a direct effect on the digestion of protein. Protein digestion primarily occurs in the stomach and small intestine, where stomach acid and digestive enzymes play crucial roles. Mylanta® primarily targets the neutralization of stomach acid, which can alleviate symptoms of indigestion but does not directly affect protein digestion.

If adequate calcium is not obtained from Elastigirl’s diet, the hormone parathyroid hormone (PTH) would be most active in maintaining her blood calcium levels. When blood calcium levels drop, the parathyroid glands release PTH. PTH stimulates the release of calcium from bones, enhances the absorption of calcium in the intestines, and reduces calcium excretion by the kidneys. These actions help to increase blood calcium levels and maintain the necessary balance for proper physiological functioning.

Topic 4: Pharmacology

Dithiazide tablets, a diuretic, can be prescribed to Elastigirl to address her symptoms of swelling in the feet and ankles. The route of administration for Dithiazide is typically oral, where the tablets are taken by mouth.

After oral administration, Dithiazide is likely to be absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract, primarily in the small intestine. From there, it enters the bloodstream and is distributed throughout

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