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A Healthy Retirement?


Ann Henninger
Biology Department
Wartburg College


Nancy has been looking forward to her retirement and a chance to entertain and travel with her husband Jim. But she hasn’t been feeling well. She’s often tired, and recently she’s been experiencing a burning sensation in her lower chest as well as nausea and difficulty breathing. This case was designed for an introductory human biology, anatomy and physiology, or health and wellness course. Its overall purpose is to identify some healthy and not-so-healthy lifestyle choices and the consequences of those choices. It also serves to demonstrate that men and women suffering from the same disease often experience different symptoms.


  • Interpret basic medical test results, e.g., blood pressure, blood glucose, and lipid levels.
  • Identify healthy and not-so-healthy lifestyle choices.
  • Identify the medical consequences of these lifestyle choices.
  • Describe some of the mechanisms that lead to these medical consequences.
  • Compare and contrast symptoms of coronary artery disease and heart attack in men and women.
  • Explain the importance of including both sexes and individuals of different racial and ethnic backgrounds in clinical studies.


Cardiovascular disease; heart disease; coronary artery disease; cardiac arrest; heart attack; angina; lifestyle choices

Topical Areas


Educational Level

High school, Undergraduate lower division



Type / Methods




Subject Headings

Biology (General)  |   Medicine (General)  |  

Date Posted


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Jim Jordan
The Lawrenceville School
Lawrenceville, NJ
I teach at a highly selective secondary school. In our ninth grade science course, we are teaching critical thinking skills through the use of medical case studies. While teaching the human physiology systems, we have students work their way through medical cases. In each case the students must take information provided to them and make a reasonable inference (several hypotheses/diagnoses) based on that information. Then they must request further information (lab tests, physical tests, interview questions) and they must give good reasoning for why they are requesting that information. At the end of the case, students must present either in writing or verbally an explanation of their thinking process from start to finish.

Thanks for making these cases available.