NURS 8310 Discussion: Epidemiology and Population Health
Discussion: Epidemiology and Population Health
Epidemiology entails the study of distribution and determinants of health-related events or states such as disease and applying this study to manage the disease and other health issues (Evensen, 2019). As an NP, the place I work, patients suffer from different health conditions like obesity, coronary artery disease, kidney failure, and uncontrolled hypertension. Diabetes mellitus is another major comorbidity that needs to be addressed. According to the World Health Organization, the number of diabetes patients has increased since 1980 from 108 million to 488 million in 2014. Most of the patients are in the lower and middle classes (Evensen, 2019). In addition, diabetes-related deaths are estimated to be 1.5 million annually. Public awareness is encouraged to lower the number of diabetes cases (Friis & Sellers, 2021). The public should be educated about complications related to diabetes like blindness, kidney damage, stroke, and heart disease. Prevention is also possible through ensuring a healthy weight, exercise, and healthy diet.
After reading the Smallpox Eradication Programme, I realized the primary emphasis was on a worldwide scale and involved collaborations from countries across the globe (Center for Global Development, 2012). Diabetes mellitus affects people globally, and awareness should be based on a global approach. Diabetes is a global problem, and just like the smallpox issue, it would require collaborations among nations to bring awareness and minimize the number of patients diagnosed annually.
In 2012, the United States center for disease control estimated $245 billion in medical-related diabetes costs. Such costs relate to medical services and goods, and indirect costs like early death, disability, and lost workdays (Center for Global Development, 2012). Minimizing the prevalence in the population may drastically plummet annual costs for individuals, insurance companies, and health care facilities. Bringing awareness to people would be ineffective; however, addressing the health issues as a population would prove more effective.
Center for Global Development. (n.d.). Case 1: Eradicating smallpox.
Evensen, E. K. (2019). Overweight/obesity, body composition and bone mass in late adolescence: the relation with birth weight, childhood body mass index and growth. The Tromsø Study: Fit Futures, a longitudinal cohort study. Fit Futures. https://munin.uit.no/handle/10037/14589
Friis, R. H., & Sellers, T. A. (2021). Epidemiology for public health practice (6th ed.). Jones
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Brief Summary of Selected Population Health Problem
The concept of population health is seeking to reveal patterns among multiple systems and develop approaches that respond to
the needs of populations using rigorous analysis of outcomes to prevent reoccurrence in the future (Nash et al., 2019). Dementia is
one of the most devastating diseases affecting Americans in the United States (U.S.). Death rates for cancer and heart disease are
declining, while death rates for Alzheimer’s disease are increasing, even with many of these deaths being under-reported on death
certificates (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], n.d.).
It is estimated that more than 5 million Americans 65 years or older are living with dementia, and by 2060 the number will have
grown to 13.9 million (American Pubic Health Association [APHA], 2020). The sixth-leading cause of death in the U.S. is Alzheimer’s
disease, accounting for 60% to 80% of all dementia cases (APHA, 2020). Dementia affects the person living with the disease and their
family members, who are frequently their caregivers.
Applying the principles of Epidemiology
Despite the many challenges to reducing the impact of dementia worldwide, translating research findings into customizing policy
and practice approaches has great potential to transform dementia prevention (Sexton & Yaffe, 2019). Applying four of the seven uses
of epidemiology would be valuable in studying patients with dementia. For instance, searching for the cause, identifying the
syndromes, and accessing health services are beneficial concepts in eradicating dementia in the future.
Lesson learned from the Eradication of Smallpox
Like smallpox in this week’s discussion example, dementia is a global phenomenon affecting millions of lives internationally.
Globally in 2018, an estimated 50 million people were living with dementia, with an expected 152 million by 2050, which is an increase
of 204% (Alzheimer’s Research UK, 2018). The financial burden on a nation’s economy has a similar effect as the smallpox outbreak.
Cost-Effectiveness of Population-Level vs. Individual Level of Dementia
When looking at the cost-effectiveness of dementia patients at the population and individual levels, the amounts are staggering. In
2020, the total cost of caring for a dementia patient cost approximately $305 billion, with Medicare and Medicaid covering about $206
billion of this cost (APHA, 2020). Families’ out-of-pocket expenses in 2020, amounting to about $66 billion, and by 2050 an increase of
more than $1.1 trillion annually is expected, raising public and private costs (APHA, 2020). In caring for the dementia population there
is no cost saving to the nation or families, so finding an alternative method to care or a cure is essential.
Alzheimer’s Research UK. (2018). Global prevalence. https://www.dementiastatistics.org/statistics/global-prevalence/
American Pubic Health Association. (2020, October 24). Strengthening the dementia care workforce: A public health priority. https://www.apha.org/Policies-and-Advocacy/Public-Health-Policy-Statements/Policy-Database/2021/01/13/Strengthening-the-Dementia-Care-Workforce
American Public Health Association. (2020, October 24). Strengthening the dementia care workforce: A public health priority. https://www.apha.org/Policies-and-Advocacy/Public-Health-Policy-Statements/Policy-Database/2021/01/13/Strengthening-the-Dementia-Care-Workforce
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (n.d.). Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. Retrieved 2021, from https://www.cdc.gov/aging/aginginfo/alzheimers.htm#what-to-do
Nash, D. B., Skoufalos, A., Fabius, R. J., & Oglesby, W. H. (2019). Population health: Creating a culture of wellness (3rd ed.). Jones & Bartlett Learning. https://online.vitalsource.com/#/books/9781284205367/cfi/6/2!
Sexton, C. E., & Yaffe, K. (2019). Population-based approaches to dementia prevention. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 70(s1), S15–S17. https://doi.org/10.3233/jad-190104