Write a discussion that includes a brief summary of;(Pathophysiology of Dying Discussion Essay)

  1. The pathophysiology of dying
  2. The leading causes of death in the United States
  3. Ethics and DNR orders(Pathophysiology of Dying Discussion Essay)
  4. common physical signs and symptoms of approaching death
  5. The significance of abnormal values of sodium, potassium, calcium, and phosphorus

5 Pathophysiology of Dying Discussion Essay-sample solution

The Pathophysiology of Dying

There are multiple ways to die, but the most common in clinical practice is death from a serious illness. Death can be gradual or immediate, painful or peaceful, depending on the cause and mode of dying. What happens during dying varies for various people, but the physiology of dying is constant. In most cases, the body’s systems slow its operation, and the heartbeat slows down as the blood moves around the body slower (Health Direct, 2022). (Pathophysiology of Dying Discussion Essay)It implies the brain and other body organs and cells receive less oxygen than they require to function. As the brain receives less oxygen, the person changes their thinking and reaction to circumstances. The brain’s hormones are also affected, affecting how other organs function. Patients begin to experience non-reactive pupils, Cheyne–Stokes breathing, inability to close eyelids, grunting of vocal cords, respiration with mandibular movement, and death rattle (Hui & Mori, 2021). Other apparent changes include drooping of the nasolabial fold, pulselessness of the radial artery, hyperextension of the neck, and decreased urine output before they die.(Pathophysiology of Dying Discussion Essay)

The Leading Causes of Death in the United States

According to the CDC, by 2023, heart disease, cancer, and Covid-19 are the leading causes of death in the United States, affecting 695,547, 605,214, and 416,893 people, respectively. About 224,935 people die from unintentional injuries or accidents, 162,890 from stroke or cerebrovascular disease, 142,342 from chronic lower respiratory diseases, and 119,399 from Alzheimer’s disease (CDC, 2022). Other leading causes include diabetes, affecting 103,294 people, chronic liver disease and cirrhosis, affecting 56,585 people; and nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis, affecting 54,358.(Pathophysiology of Dying Discussion Essay)

Ethics and DNR orders

DNR decision-making is typical in healthcare, exposing providers to ethical quandaries. Ethics is a fundamental competence in clinical practice. It is the ability to perform a task involving an ethical dilemma in an appropriate and morally responsible manner. One model of ethical competence for healthcare professionals comprises three major components: being, doing, and knowing, implying that ethical competence necessitates character, action, and knowledge capacities (Pettersson et al., 2018). To make ethically competent DNR judgments in healthcare, practitioners must cultivate appropriate virtues and expand their knowledge of ethical theories and applicable therapeutic recommendations (Pettersson et al., 2018). To act in the patient’s best interest, nurses and doctors can cooperate more effectively about patients when making DNR decisions by participating in ongoing discussions for developing a standard ethical language and a positive ethical working environment.(Pathophysiology of Dying Discussion Essay)

Common Physical Signs and Symptoms of Approaching Death

Most people experience fatigue in the weeks before death. People might prefer to lie down more frequently or for longer intervals. Although some might desire to talk more, others may want to speak less. Due to slowing their stomach and digestive system, they might prefer to eat less or alternative things. A person who is dying may also lose weight and experience thinning skin. At this point, the body finds it difficult to replace skin cells and other organs as it used to (Health Direct, 2022). Additionally, a person’s ability to control their breathing begins to deteriorate in the days leading up to their death. Respiration can become erratic overall as they may initially breathe more slowly before doing so faster. Breathing may start to sound rather “rattly,” and fluids may collect in their lungs where individuals might cough but not profoundly. Some patients experience a brief surge of vigor in the final 24 hours before they pass away, sitting up and speaking normally. As blood circulation deteriorates in the days leading up to death, patients frequently experience changes in skin tone. Individuals may turn grayer or paler, or their skin may become mottled (Health Direct, 2022). Additionally, a person could get hazy and tired due to oxygen depletion in their brain. Some people experience hallucinations, and some pass away a few days after becoming unconscious.(Pathophysiology of Dying Discussion Essay)

The Significance of Abnormal Values of Sodium, Potassium, Calcium, and Phosphorus

Electrolytes are necessary for basic bodily functions such as producing and transmitting action potentials in the nerves and muscles and sustaining electrical neutrality in cells. In addition to magnesium, calcium, phosphate, and bicarbonates, sodium, potassium, and chloride are essential electrolytes. People obtain electrolytes from their diet and drinks. Unbalanced amounts of these electrolytes might result in abnormally high or low levels (Shrimanker & Bhattarai, 2022). Electrolyte imbalances can cause life-threatening issues and interfere with typical body processes. Nonetheless, electrolyte measurements assist clinicians in identifying a medical issue, the efficacy of treatment, and any potential medication adverse effects. Examples include a patient presenting with weakness and needing a basic electrolyte workup following an electrolyte imbalance, particularly regarding sodium and potassium levels, can cause fatigue. Also, a heart failure patient under diuretics requires an examination for potassium, bicarbonate, and magnesium. (Pathophysiology of Dying Discussion Essay)

Pathophysiology of Dying Discussion Essay


CDC. (2022, September 6). FastStats. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/leading-causes-of-death.htm

Health Direct. (2022, December 20). The physical process of dying. Trusted Health Advice | healthdirect. https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/the-physical-process-of-dying#

Hui, D., & Mori, M. (2021). Physiology of dying. Oxford Textbook of Palliative Medicine, 1094-1103. https://doi.org/10.1093/med/9780198821328.003.0103

Pettersson, M., Hedström, M., & Höglund, A. T. (2018). Ethical competence in DNR decisions –a qualitative study of Swedish physicians and nurses working in hematology and oncology careBMC Medical Ethics19(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12910-018-0300-7(Pathophysiology of Dying Discussion Essay)

Shrimanker, I., & Bhattarai, S. (2022). Electrolytes. In: StatPearls [Internet]. StatPearls Publishing.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK541123/

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