According to a Center for Disease Control and Prevention course-work, Epidemiology is the study of the distribution and determinants of health-related states or events in specified populations and the application of this study to the control of health problems. (Center for Disease Prevention and Control, 2006) Epidemiology also could be defined as the study of disease in a specific area during a particular period or the regularity of exposure among people with illness during a specific period. Epidemiology is used to diagnosis of a health event. During this diagnosis, the epidemiologist will find out precisely what is causing the health event to occur. It is also used to find out the people involved in a particular health event. An epidemiologist will narrow down exactly which groups of people are affected by the health event. Epidemiology is instrumental in discovering where a certain health event took place, to determine the specific time the health event took place and is used to conclude the reasons, risk factors, and ways the health event could possibly spread.
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Epidemiology is used to research root causes of specific health occurrences in specific people, places, and during specific time frames. It is also used to find out what specifically caused the problem. Epidemiologists focus on patterns and frequencies of health-related incidences. As it pertains to Epidemiology, frequency refers to how many health-related instances occurred compared to the total population. In Epidemiology, patterns denote the rate of instances by when, where, and who is affected by a specific health related instance. Frequency and patterns are the foundation of Epidemiology.
In all health-related instances, two measures are always taken into consideration in research; they are the rates of mortality and morbidity. The CDC describes mortality as a measure of the frequency of occurrence of death in a defined population during a specified interval. (Center for Disease Prevention and Control, 2006). They describe morbidity as any departure, subjective or objective, from a state of physiological or psychological wellbeing. (Center for Disease Prevention and Control, 2006). Essentially, mortality is how often death happens to specific people during a particular time, whereas morbidity is the act of becoming ill or departing.
According to the CDC, characterizing health events by time, place, and person are activities of descriptive epidemiology. There are numerous categories of health occurrences that are studied by epidemiologists. The four measures I would like to explore further are age-specific mortality, sex-specific mortality, race-specific mortality, and postneonatal mortality.
The CDC defines age-specific mortality rate as a mortality rate limited to a particular age group. (Center for Disease Prevention and Control, 2006) According to a study performed from 1981-2013, on age-specific risk factors for advanced-stage colorectal cancer, there has been an increase in colorectal cancer (CRC) among younger adults. (Moore KJ, 2018). ). Their study revealed that colorectal cancer is among the most common cancers diagnosed in the United States for adults younger than 50 years of age. Among all US adults, colorectal cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in both men and women. In 2017 in the United States, an estimated 135,430 people were predicted to be diagnosed with colorectal cancer, and about 50,260 people were predicted to die from the disease. (Moore KJ, 2018). This study showed that adults younger than 50 years of age though less likely to contract colorectal cancer are more likely to present with advanced-stage colorectal cancer. The study showed that it was essential to screen and provided preventive medicine for high-risk persons.
The CDC defines a sex-specific mortality rate as a mortality rate among either males or females. (Center for Disease Prevention and Control, 2006). According to Epidemiology report: trends in sex-specific cerebrovascular disease mortality in Europe based on WHO mortality data study, the number of stroke deaths was higher in females than males in 50 of the 51 countries with available data. (Rushabh Shah, 2019). Their study showed that on average, the percentage of total deaths due to stroke in the latest open year was lowest in Western Europe was 5.9% in males and 8.2% in females and at the highest in Eastern Europe 11.6% in males, 17.5% in females. (Rushabh Shah, 2019) These findings showed the need for sustained research in the difference in stroke mortality between the sexes across European countries.
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The CDC defines a race-specific mortality rate as a mortality rate related to a specified racial group. (Center for Disease Prevention and Control, 2006)This mortality rate mainly depicts mortality that affects specific ethnic backgrounds. According to the Racial Disparities in Prostate Cancer Mortality in the 50 Largest US Cities, there were significant racial disparities in prostate cancer mortality in the US and many of its largest cities. More than half of the largest cities in the US showed a broadening gap in prostate cancer mortality rates between blacks and whites between 1990–1994 and 2005–2009 (Benjamins, 2016). This study was used to show the inconsistencies in the treatment of cancer in large cities in the United States.
According to the CDC, the postneonatal mortality rate is defined as the period from 28 days of age up to but not including one year of age. (Center for Disease Prevention and Control, 2006). A study suggests that postneonatal mortality increases with four environmental predictors. They are the median family income of less than $10,000, poverty prevalence of greater than 50%, increased violent crime rate, and limited community access to primary medical care. (Collins JW Jr., 1997). The more predictors black babies were exposed to, the higher the mortality rate and vice versa. The postneonatal mortality rate of black infants was three times that of infants. The study of Racial differences in postneonatal mortality in Chicago presents that thirty-six percent of the white infants had none of the environmental risk factors, whereas only 13% of the black infants had none of the risk factors. (Collins JW Jr., 1997)
- Benjamins, M. R. (2016). Racial Disparities in Prostate Cancer Mortality in the 50 Largest US Cities. Retrieved from Cancer Epidemiology: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.canep.2016.07.019
- Center for Disease Prevention and Control. (2006, OCT). Principles of Epidemiology in Public Health Practice. Retrieved from An Introduction to Applied Epidemiology and Biostatistics: https://www.cdc.gov/csels/dsepd/ss1978/SS1978.pdf
- Collins JW Jr., &. H. (1997). Racial differences in post-neonatal mortality in Chicago: what risk factors explain the black infant’s disadvantage? . Retrieved from Ethnicity & Health: https://eds-a-ebscohost-com.libauth.purdueglobal.edu/eds/detail/detail?vid=4&sid=b0bdd7a8-5e62-41df-bb65-860676d4e3e8%40sdc-v-sessmgr03&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWRzLWxpdmU%3d#AN=107243084&db=rzh
- Moore KJ, S. D.-S. (2018). Center for Diseas Control and Prevention. Retrieved from Age-Specific Risk Factors for Advanced Stage Colorectal Cancer, 1981–2013: https://www.cdc.gov/pcd/issues/2018/17_0274.htm
- Rushabh Shah, E. W.-S. (2019, MARCH 1). Epidemiology report: trends in sex-specific cerebrovascular disease mortality in Europe based on WHO mortality data. Retrieved from European Heart Journal, Volume 40, Issue 9: https://academic.oup.com/eurheartj/article/40/9/755/5069358#131690850
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