Mary Treat is a 68­year­old woman who reports a recent history of persistent diarrhea and stomach cramps

| March 14, 2016

Question
Case Study
Mary Treat is a 68­year­old woman who reports a recent history of persistent diarrhea and
stomach cramps. She is 64 inches tall and her usual body weight is 150 pounds. She takes a
daily multi­vitamin supplement and over­the­counter antacids for occasional heartburn. Her
usual diet includes fresh vegetables from her garden and fruit in season from her fruit tree. She
preserves much of her produce so she has year­round fruits and vegetables. Her diet is limited
in meat and cheese although she eats yogurt frequently. Her favorite breakfast is homemade
granola with yogurt and fruit. She has had a recent flare­up of diarrhea and stomach cramps
after spending the Labor Day weekend at a family reunion. Meals for the past 3 days have been
higher in fat and protein than her usual intake, with notable family favorites such as cheese
quiche, barbeque ribs, potato salad, and homemade ice cream. She complains of heartburn,
cramps, and diarrhea.
1. According to information in Highlight 3, what are some general causes of diarrhea?
2. Based on her history, name at least two reasonable explanations for Mary’s sudden
onset of diarrhea and cramps.
3. How would you explain Mary’s symptoms of heartburn?
4. If food poisoning is suspected, what may have been an effect from her regular use of
antacids?
5. What immediate treatment would you suggest for her current symptoms?
6. What advice would you offer Mrs. Treat to avoid this type of gastrointestinal discomfort
in the future?
7. At what point would you advise her to seek medical care?

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