Living the Sweet Life
An Internship in Endocrinology
Texas Tech University
In this directed case study, students help “Dr. Gupta” diagnose three patients in an endocrinology clinic who are having problems with blood glucose regulation. In Part I, students are given patient backgrounds and results from laboratory tests generated by a primary care physician. Students are initially asked to evaluate the data presented, come up with a potential diagnosis, and determine what additional tests they would like to run. In Part II, students are given results of additional tests and guided through the material with a series of questions with the ultimate goal of determining a diagnosis for each patient (Patient 1: Type II Diabetes; Patient 2: Type I Diabetes; Patient 3: Cushing’s Syndrome). The case study contains fabricated data, but values are based on realistic physiological ranges and should give students a realistic idea of values they would see in individuals with these conditions. The study was designed for pre-nursing students in a non-majors anatomy and physiology course. Students will learn about insulin, blood glucose regulation, diabetes testing and diagnosis, diabetes management, cortisol, Cushing’s Syndrome, and negative feedback.
- Explain why insulin is important and understand which problems arise when glucose levels are not regulated properly.
- Describe the physiological control of blood glucose regulation.
- Compare and contrast patient symptoms with those that occur in specific diseases/disorders associated with Type I diabetes, Type II diabetes, Addison's disease, and Cushing's disease.
- Diagram and describe the negative feedback axis associated with the release of cortisol.
- Understand and explain the utility of the following tests: fasting glucose, glucose tolerance test, dexamethasone challenge, c-peptide levels, hemoglobin A1c, urinary glucose, urinary ketones, morning cortisol, blood pressure, lipid panel.
- Interpret data from fasting glucose, glucose tolerance test, dexamethasone challenge, c-peptide levels, hemoglobin A1c, urinary glucose, urinary ketones, morning cortisol, blood pressure, and lipid panel.
KeywordsGlucose; Cushing’s syndrome; dexamethasone; Type I diabetes; cortisol; Type II diabetes; glucose tolerance test; Addison’s disease; HA1c; fasting glucose; diabetes mellitus; hyperglycemia; HPA axis
Educational LevelUndergraduate lower division, Undergraduate upper division, Clinical education
Type / MethodsDirected
Subject HeadingsAnatomy | Biology (General) | Epidemiology | Medicine (General) | Nursing | Physiology |