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Disease Trends and the Delivery of Health Care Services

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Disease Trends and the Delivery of Health Care Services

Deanna L Davis


July 8, 2012

Shawnte McMillians Elbert

Disease Trends and the Delivery of Health Care Services

In a world of growing populations and constant immigration from one country to another, the healthcare system is forced to continue to grow with it. The continuation of research on a massive scale to control unknown diseases as well as mutated strains will be a daunting task to organizations such as the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) that are in control of policies, containing infectious diseases, and the surveillance of health care facilities across the globe. However, even the constant changing of an aging population and its many illnesses, creates a challenge to inform the health care industry of new ways to deliver health care in the future. We are constantly reminded of the obesity rate here in the United States and elsewhere as well as the progression of an influx of an aging population called the "baby boomers" that will cost the healthcare system as well as an overwhelming influx of patients.


The expected population of the older generation in the United States is projected to increase from 13 percent to 19 percent of the population 65 or older by 2030 (Grayson & Velkoff 2010) Taking into consideration that the "baby boomers" will be 67 years old starting in 2010 and 85 years old by 2050. Furthermore the age group of 85 years old will be increased from 5.8 million in 2010 to 8.7 million in 2030 while also increasing to 19 million in 2050 (Grayson & Velkoff 2010).

With this type of increase, the trend in the needs of health care for this population will put an enormous strain on the current healthcare system in regards to known health issues such as osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, bladder cancer, gastroenteritis, and chronic renal failure. A disease such as gastroenteritis in the elderly is sometimes caused by lack of electrolyte imbalance, improper food storage and refrigeration, and thoroughly cooking food. With the ever-changing environmental exposure, nutritional, social and exercise factors, older adult's immune systems are not as strong and allows more illnesses to present themselves.

The ever-changing demographics play a role in the current and possible diseases effecting this older population as well. With immigration from a global perspective, many diseases are passed on from these individuals even though they themselves show no signs of carrying them. Because the elderly population's immune systems are not as effective they become more susceptible to this type of outside influence. It is also necessary to understand that the aging process presents itself with other factors in controlling such diseases like osteoporosis. By increasing awareness of diets rich in vitamin D and weight-bearing exercises to this population, can we decrease the incidents projected.

However, the question of how to reduce health complications in relationship to aging can be answered in simple terms. With increased awareness on healthy eating habits, proper exercise regimes, social interaction, and clinical preventive services, many of the diseases that inflict the older population can be prevented with recommended immunizations, and cancer screenings. Another way to reduce complications is to address cognitive impairment that can require long-term care, as well an increase in caregiving and financial needs. Furthermore, by monitoring cognitive impairment in each city and state community, and developing strategies and policies to address this issue will further help the older population live long and productive lives.


Another trend that has become a highly a publicized issue is obesity and the ramifications it will have on the health industry in the future. Many have added speculation as to how this became a problem of epidemic proportions which is still being researched. In recent studies, it was found that between 1976-1980, an increase of 1 percent per year occurred however, between 1976-1980 and 1999-2000 this phenomenon increased from 15.1 percent to 30.9 percent and was the same in both men and woman. Many have speculated that menu labeling in restaurants and food labeling in our grocery stores could be effective in teaching healthy choices to parents. Although the "thinness" idea has been around for centuries, the variety of unhealthy foods has become even more popular. However, this trend of thinness has created its own health issues like bulimia and anorexia. With fast foods and increased technology for children and adults, the thought of having a family meal or exercising has become part of the past. It would seem that the average family of four remains disconnected from healthy lifestyle living and more in favor providing a fast meal and electronic games to occupy their children.

According to Boero, N. (2007) and National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) reported that their study in 1990 estimated the cost of the obesity epidemic to be at 69 million dollars annually. Although in a study done in 2009-2010, it estimated that 78 million adults in the U.S. and 12.5 million children and adolescents made up the obesity population, NCHS DATA Brief NO, 82. (2012). It is necessary to look at environmental aspects of this type of epidemic that involves social and economic situations. In largely populated urban areas where poverty and crime are rampant, the availability and access of healthier food, and access to safe environments for activity, has decreased, and is becoming noticeable in the healthcare industry across the globe.

Many institutions such as Center for Public Health and Nutrition, School of Public Health and Community Medicine are aware of the disadvantage to minorities and the poor when it involves healthier eating habits. Drewnowski, A. (2009) stated, "low income neighborhoods attract more fast food outlets and convenience stores as opposed to full-service supermarkets and grocery stores". This would indicate that making healthier choices versus income plays a role in poverty-stricken areas. The connection between obesity and type II diabetes seems to increase in these areas as well, because of lack of income, increased cost of fresh fruits and vegetables and lack of availability in urban areas.



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