While medical science has evolved enormously in helping us understand how to combat specific illnesses and long-term conditions, a few diseases and ailments still require highly specific care and analysis. Pathological disease, for example, is a term that covers a broad range of potential bodily issues and frequently requires close and detailed research.
The term ‘pathological disease’ isn’t commonly used as much as one might assume, largely because it covers such a large variety of potential health issues. However, below, we’ll look at what the term means in practice and how family nurse practitioners (FNPs) diagnose, treat, and alleviate conditions covered by the time.
What is pathological disease?
Pathological disease refers to conditions that worsen due to abnormalities or irregularities within our bodies – conditions that worsen because of these abnormalities aren’t always due to syndromes or illnesses.
The term ‘pathological condition’ might have become popularized thanks to the work of Christopher Boorse, who suggests that ‘disease’ is too broad a term to cover conditions arising through cell and other bodily abnormalities.
This definition, therefore, reframes our wider idea of a ‘disease’ as a pathological condition – an internal condition that reduces healthy performance but isn’t necessarily a disease. Pathological conditions typically develop within the body due to internal problems, not always through contracting disease or illness.
Pathological disease can, therefore, affect people of all ages and backgrounds. It’s a phenomenon where FNPs and other medical professionals must look closely at a patient’s health profile to help suggest ways to alleviate pain and other discomfort.
Pathological conditions and diseases aren’t the same as pathology, which is the study of how certain diseases develop under laboratory conditions.
How can medical advice support recovery from pathological disease?
Unfortunately, not all pathological diseases and conditions are easy to recover from. In some cases, chronic conditions might persist for life, and patients need to adjust their lifestyles to alleviate pain and discomfort.
Two very different types of pathological conditions, for example, might include Alzheimer’s disease and polycystic ovary syndrome. Both conditions have no specific cure but are adjustable with particular care – unfortunately, the former frequently worsens over time.
Let’s examine how medical advice can support people with pathological conditions.
One of the most important things an FNP can do with any patient is advise a review of medication they might be taking. When visiting an FNP, a patient with a pathological disease might provide their nurse with details on any prescription medication and over-the-counter treatments they’ve been using.
FNPs can, then, through a full medical analysis and by analyzing their patient’s history, check whether or not medication is making certain problems worse. This might require the nurse to work with a specialist. However, in some cases, switching medicine can help alleviate many symptoms.
Just as a nurse might recommend healthier lifestyle choices to people with heart disease, for example, an FNP can also make recommendations based on specific pathological cases.
There may be some foods and nutrients that could help to improve specific organ performance or blood health. This could, hypothetically, help reduce pain and ensure that patients can carefully manage their condition(s) in their own time.
In pathological conditions with no cure, lifestyle changes are often some of the first recommendations nurses will make. Unfortunately, we can’t rely on medicine to solve all of our problems now!
Look at connecting issues.
Sometimes, a pathological condition might be a sign of other problems that go undetected. Pathological diseases occur through abnormalities, meaning other states might have caused these ‘bodily errors’ in the first place.
In this case, an FNP can carefully diagnose other conditions and ailments that might be connected.
While studying on a course such as the Carson-Newman FNP program, for example, FNP students will learn how to start following these diagnostic routes. This program covers all the bases FNPs must refer to when practicing in community clinics and elsewhere.
Searching for connected issues could mean that FNPs need to refer their patients to outside specialists and clinics, which will help them find relief for one, if not more, of the problems they’re experiencing.
FNPs with access to other healthcare professionals might be able to suggest surgery as a possibility to help relieve some pathological conditions, such as disorders caused by dysfunctional organs. However, FNPs won’t be able to carry out such surgeries themselves – they will need to send patient cases via X-ray before assessing results and then consulting with a surgeon.
Again, some pathological conditions persist for life. This means that it’s important for FNPs to carefully assure their patients that surgery won’t necessarily stop infections in their tracks but could help make life more comfortable.
Of course, surgery isn’t ever recommended as a first choice of treatment unless other avenues are discussed first. In most cases, FNPs will likely suggest lifestyle changes to make a positive difference to their patients.
Can FNPs treat all pathological diseases?
Fully trained FNPs can treat patients regardless of their conditions and diseases, but they might need outside support to get clearer answers and provide solutions. Above all else, FNPs can provide gentle support and reassurance to patients who might be experiencing stress and anxiety as a result of painful or uncomfortable conditions.
The role of an FNP is extremely important in helping people to understand how conditions arise and why. Then, they can help patients to make changes to keep certain symptoms at bay – and while it might not be possible to reverse all problems caused by pathological disorders, regaining some comfort is a huge relief for those affected by them.
Of course, pathological disease is a term that covers a lot of conditions – so FNPs need to keep on their toes and continue studying and developing long after graduation.