Discussion: Epidemiology and Population Health

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.

Friis, R. H., & Sellers, T. A. (2021). Epidemiology for public health practice (6th ed.). Jones

& Bartlett.

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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

Discussion Epidemiology and Population Health
Discussion Epidemiology and Population Health

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.

American Pubic Health Association. (2020, October 24). Strengthening the dementia care workforce: A public health priority.

American Public Health Association. (2020, October 24). Strengthening the dementia care workforce: A public health priority.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (n.d.). Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. Retrieved 2021, from

Nash, D. B., Skoufalos, A., Fabius, R. J., & Oglesby, W. H. (2019). Population health: Creating a culture of wellness (3rd ed.). Jones & Bartlett Learning.!

Sexton, C. E., & Yaffe, K. (2019). Population-based approaches to dementia prevention. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 70(s1), S15–S17.

RE: Week 1: Main Discussion- Epidemiology and Population Health


Thank you for your insightful post. You make a very important point about the importance of recognizing diabetes and the importance of managing it effectively. In a very interesting article by Schultze et al. (2019), the authors had nursing students use virtual reality simulations to assess nursing students’ ability to interview and educate patients with diabetes. The results were that older nursing students asked fewer questions, but provided more education and empathy than younger students. Additionally, Casagrande et al. (2018), point out that ethnic minorities are less likely to be diagnosed than Caucasians. These points combined reinforce your statement about the need to raise awareness.  It may also give us insight into a population that needs to be targeted and techniques that should d be deployed for effective screening.


Casagrande, S. S., Menke, A., Aviles-Santa, L., Gallo, L. C., Daviglus, M. L., Talavera, G. A., Castañeda, S. F., Perreira, K., Loop, M. S., Tarraf, W., González, H. M., & Cowie, C. C. (2018). Factors associated with undiagnosed diabetes among adults with diabetes: Results from the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos (HCHS/SOL). Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice146, 258–266.


Schultze, S. R., Mujica, F. C., & Kleinheksel, A. J. (2019). Demographic and spatial trends in diabetes-related virtual nursing examinations. Social Science & Medicine222, 225–230.