What is epidemiology?

What Does epidemiology Mean

The dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy (RAE) defines epidemiology as the treatise that is focused on epidemics . It is a discipline of science dedicated to the analysis of the causes, the links, the way in which they are distributed, the regularity and the control of different factors that are associated with health .

Epidemiology uses resources from the health sciences (such as medicine ) and the social sciences to study the well-being of people in a given community. It is part of preventive medicine and helps to design and develop public health policies .

The epidemics are a major point of interest for epidemiology. An epidemic is known as the disease that affects a large number of people at the same time and that spreads in a specific geographical area during a certain period of time. Its effect can often be harmful.
The appearance of an epidemic supposes a number of patients that exceeds the average predicted by the specialists. For example: if in country X 40 cases of a disease are detected per month, during a pandemic that number can multiply several times, which means a higher incidence level than projected.
Epidemiology attempts to establish the cause and effect link between exposure and disease. By analyzing the social causes that lead to the development of an epidemic, epidemiology makes it possible to develop prevention campaigns and more effectively assist those affected. That is why this discipline is key to community health .
The epidemiologist and the method used
The epidemiologist is the one who is dedicated to epidemiology and his object of study is the way in which a disease is distributed based on time and place in a society, thus he can determine if its presence has spread or diminished, compare How is its frequency between different areas and if the people from one affected area and another have different characteristics in which the disease manifests itself.

The points studied by epidemiology are:

* Demographic aspects of those affected (sex, age and ethnic group to which they belong)

* Biological aspects (antibodies, enzymes, blood cells, physiological functions ... and what can be used to understand the effect what the disease causes)

* Social and economic aspects ( economic situation, activities they carry out, circumstances of their birth ...)

* Genetic aspects (blood group and family history of similar diseases)

* Habits (consumption of narcotics, cigarettes, alcohol or any medicine, as well as degree of physical activity and diet)

For the development of this science, the scientific method is used and consists of carrying out an exhaustive study on the lives of affected individuals, individually and also collectively, in the community of which it is part or where it has become ill.
In addition, epidemiology proposes prevention plans for future infections , in order to prevent the disease from spreading, acquiring highly harmful characteristics, which could become a pandemic or epidemic and that will put the survival of the group at risk .
The epidemiological method is the one that has been designed by epidemiologists in order to help obtain a hypothesis that allows the investigation to be carried out . Through this method, an attempt is made to eliminate all the possible causes already known, in order to establish a rational study that reaches effective conclusions.

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