Epidemiology of Health and Illness

1. It is highly important for an epidemiologist to understand the mechanisms of disease spread. Doctors should be aware of the current outbreaks and factors contributing to spread of these diseases in human population. Epidemiologic triad can help with identification of the sources and mechanisms of transmission of the illnesses. It is a model that includes host, agent of disease, and environment, which is conditions allowing for distribution and reproduction of the pathogen. The epidemiologic triad has a direct connection with health issues in hospitals, because it can be an invaluable instrument while tracing the origin of the infection.

In the acute care setting, the most common diagnoses include hyperlipidemia, hypertension, diabetes, anxiety, back pain, and obesity. Meanwhile, in the community setting, the most common diagnoses are chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, pneumonia, cardiac dysrhythmias, and congestive heart failure. The major difference in the epidemiologic triad, when a nurse is providing care to someone in the community or in his/her home, is the environment. These differences may include temperature of the location, quality of drinking water, and accessibility of medical facilities. The nurse has less control in the patient’s house because of these differences and inability to maintain or regulate the main conditions.

2. Obesity in the United States has reached the level of the epidemic. Over the past ten years, the number of obese Americans has significantly increased and eventually reached the record level. Medical experts determined that more than 18% of children and 39% of adults face this problem. It is necessary to mention that these figures are higher than ever in the history of the country. Moreover, a tendency does not have the slightest prerequisites for slowing down. Regarding the statistical data, adults aged between 40 and 59 are most likely to suffer from obesity. However, the problem is also acute for the population aged 20-39 years. It was identified that women suffer from overweight more often than men with the difference about 3%. In such a way, this data is disappointing and necessary measures should be immediately taken to control the situation.

Under the current conditions of healthcare development, nurses should take responsibility for the promotion of healthy lifestyle, especially in schools, and development of preventive education for the population. It should be applied to all diseases with obesity as a priority. Nursing care for the patient with obesity includes patient monitoring, control over compliance with the diet, and constant psychological support. A nurse should ensure the balance of vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats, and carbohydrates in patient’s foods.

3. There are several causes for increases in healthcare costs observed for the recent years. The most substantial are increased expenditures for medical services and products, application of new drugs and technologies, high administrative costs, marketing of new devices and drugs, population aging, and expenses for medical errors. Some of these causes have always existed, while others are quite new, such as application of new drugs and technologies. High administrative costs can be modified by reduction in private insurance plans in the same region, as they increase the expenditures, making the processing of data time-consuming and complex. In turn, nurses can reduce the number of medical errors to reduce the contribution of this expense item.

4. The level of morbidity and mortality is different in all countries. The USA occupies the 96th place among other countries by the latter, which is a relatively good indicator. Many factors affect health, mortality, and average life expectancy of people, and socioeconomic conditions have the crucial influence, determining different causes of mortality and morbidity in various countries. Meanwhile, there are several common causes shared by most countries. They include the use of alcohol, drugs, and nicotine. Health and mortality are connected with the success of medicine and the opportunity to receive qualified medical care. Thus, developing countries need to improve the level of medical services to reduce the mortality rate.

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