Epidemiology in the Elderly with Heart Disease

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Epidemiology in the Elderly with Heart Disease

Epidemiology in the Elderly with Heart Disease

Public health promotes healthy living for each community through epidemiology. Disease prevention and control is the common goal of epidemiology, nursing practice, and public health. “Epidemiology is the study of the population in order to monitor the health of the population, understand the determinants of health and disease in the community, and investigate and evaluate interventions to prevent disease and maintain health” (Stanhope & Lancaster. 2008). Epidemiologists have developed many parameters to slow the spread of disease. For example, cardiovascular disease including hypertension, coronary heart disease, and rhythmic disorders have become increasingly common with advancing age across the country. Epidemiology is the study of health related events, characteristics, and determinant patterns in a population. Public health researchers use epidemiology to help make policies and identifying risk factors for disease and preventable medicine through evidence based studies. Epidemiology looks at diseases such as cardiovascular disease along with infectious diseases such as influenza. Epidemiologists take into account health behaviors such as diet and activity, social conditions such as poverty and housing, health services and research. Epidemiology can be either descriptive or analytical. Descriptive epidemiology is the study of the distribution of health-related states or events. It refers to the occurrence of disease, in term of person, place, and time (Stanhope & Lancaster 2008). It rules out chance, bias, confounding as explanations of observed differences, and draws conclusions as causal hypotheses. It also includes public health surveillance. Analytic epidemiology studies the determinants of health related states or events. It measures and tests the causes and associations (the how and why), from descriptive studies hypotheses, controls for chance, bias, confounding in the study design, analyzing data and drawing conclusions. Heart disease in the elderly population is an example of how the principles of epidemiology are applied in vulnerable populations. The methods used to quantify the existence or occurrences of the disease are frequency, distribution, and causes. Frequency has two components. The incidence is a measure of new cases of disease that develop in a population during a specific time. It also measures the probability that unaffected persons will develop the disease. Prevalence is the proportion of individuals in a population with disease or condition at a specific point of time. It provides an idea of how severe a problem may be. Distribution shows the risk factors that might be the cause of the disease. The epidemiologic triangle is used to help scientists with studying health problems. It helps understand diseases and how they spread. The triangle has three corners, the agent or cause of the disease (the what), the host or organism harboring the disease (the who), and the environment or external factors (the where). In the center of the triangle is time. Time refers to the incubation period or the time that the symptoms occur. Chronic heart diseases found in the elderly such as Congestive Heart Failure or CHF follow the epidemiologic triangle. There may be many causes of CHF including obesity and hypertension. External factors such as stress contribute to the risk of heart disease. Although many people live a healthy life style, they are not immune to heart disease. The steps of the epidemiologic methods are surveillance versus research, and common epidemiologic measures that are quantitative and qualitative. Quantitative measures are continuous numbers, and discrete numbers. Qualitative measures are nominal categorical, ethnicity, and ordinal. Epidemiology step methods are design, implementation, analysis, interpretation, and reporting. Public...
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