Identify four health patterns affected by syphilis, and describe how the disease specifically impacts that health pattern.

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kipling2448's profile pic

kipling2448 | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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A particularly pernicious sexually-transmitted disease (STD), particularly if left untreated, syphilis, caused by the bacteria Treponema pallidum, advances through four stages, the first of two of which in particular can be mistaken if left unexamined by a physician for more benign conditions.  These four stages are, in the order in which they occur, Primary syphilis, Secondary syphilis, Latent syphilis, and Tertiary syphilis.  The Primary stage is characterized by the appearance of usually painless sores at the location on the body where the bacteria entered, which often means the genitalia, but can also mean the mouth in cases where the bacteria has been spread through oral sex.  Left untreated, these sores generally go away in a matter of weeks, leaving the impression that the undiagnosed lesions had been a temporary phenomenon and that the cause of the lesions is no longer present.  The disease, however, will enter its Secondary phase, during which a rash will likely appear on the hands and feet, and can also occur on other parts of the body.  Women often develop genital warts.  In addition, symptoms commonly associated with more mundane conditions, including swollen lymph nodes and joint pain, may occur and, as with the Primary stage, easily lend themselves to misidentification by the infected individual. 

The Latent phase of syphilis is where the disease becomes less visible and more dangerous.  Infected individuals who witness the disappearance of outward symptoms like lesions and assume the underlying problem has gone away are now in an especially dangerous phase of the disease.  Just because the outwardly visible manifestations of syphilis have disappeared does not mean the disease is gone; in the case of syphilis, the outwardly visible signs were merely warnings of more serious problems inside the body.  The disease does not go away untreated, it merely incubates within the body unseen from the outside.  The Latent phase of syphilis can take years to incubate, during which time it is exacting a toll on the central nervous system and on certain organs.  Again, left untreated, it will advance to the Tertiary stage, which can also take years to fully manifest itself, but during which time the central nervous system is being destroyed, the brain may be infected, the cardiovascular system is attacked, and malignant tumors develop.  Depending upon the age of the infected individual, the rate at which the disease progresses from one stage to the next, and the level, if any, of treatment that may occur, the patient may die from syphilis or die from unrelated conditions before the syphilis bacteria has a chance to fully develop. 

These are the four stage of syphilis.  It is assumed that this was the intended purpose of the question regarding “four health patterns.”  Specific to the central nervous system, there are four types of syphilis that might be the information for which the question was posted.  These are asymptomatic neurosyphilis, meningovascular syphilis, general paresis, and tabes dorsalis.  Asymptomatic neurosyphilis, as the name implies, involves the absence of visible indications of the disease and of feelings of sickness attributable to syphilis or to other diseases or viruses.  Meningovascual syphilis is a later-term condition affecting the blood vessels in the brain, as well as inflammation of the coverings of the brain.  The most common result of meningovascaular syphilis is blindness, and sometimes deafness.  General paresis is the deterioration of the brain and onset of dementia, with death occurring in two to three years.  Tabes dorsalis affects the central nervous system causing loss of equilibrium and eventually nerve and circulatory damage to the lower extremities.

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eli468's profile pic

eli468 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Valedictorian

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Health patterns were created by Marjorie Gordon as a way to break down the basic health and human functions for simple questions for nurses to ask patients to help determine their different levels of health in certain areas. These patterns include :

  1. Health Perception and Management
  2. Nutrition and Metabolism
  3. Elimination
  4. Activity and Exercise
  5. Cognition and Perception
  6. Sleep and Rest
  7. Self-Perception and Self-Concept
  8. Roles and Relationships
  9. Sexuality and Reproduction
  10. Coping and Stress Tolerance
  11. Values and Belief

Four health patterns that would be affected due to syphilis are Nutrition and Metabolism, Activity-Exercise, Cognition and Perception and Sexuality and Reproduction.

It affects the health pattern of Nutrition and Metabolism, not due to what you are eating or changes in metabolism, but because part of the health pattern of Nutrition and Metabolism is skin problems. The primary and secondary stages of syphilis have symptoms where you will get chancres (sores) and rashes that develop.

During the secondary stage you may also experience," fever, swollen lymph glands, sore throat, patchy hair loss, headaches, weight loss, muscle aches, and fatigue." Fatigue affects the Activity and Exercise Pattern due to not having a sufficient amount of energy compared to if your body was at it's normal health.

During the secondary stage you can also have vision changes which affects the Cognition and Perception Pattern. Without even further treatment it can lead to difficult coordination of muscles, blindness, paralysis

Syphilis also affects the Sexuality and Reproductive Health Pattern because it becomes a change and problem within your sex life and can (or at least should) cause you to have to refrain from sexual activities until treated.

Syphilis, left untreated, can also cause damage to the brain, nerves, heart, and other internal organs which could fall under the first category due to the fact that with treatment these things could have been avoided and therefore health management would be affected.

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