Epidemiologic work has two categories: descriptive and analytic. The one used on childhood diabetes epidemiology was descriptive. Undoubtedly, both of these categories are fundamental on understanding diabetes as well other diseases. Descriptive epidemiology involves activities that focus on settings or scenarios with the goal of approximating disease distribution within a population. It concentrates on the distribution and frequency of incidence of diseases, particularly diabetes on this study.
Some of the frameworks for this category are incidence and prevalence, epidemic behavior, geographic and temporal distribution, age, sex, occupation and occurrence in different settings like the three scenarios reflected. Characteristics are described both for people who already have diabetes and for those who do not have the disease yet so that risk factors can be identified. Lundy et al. stated the general meaning and function of descriptive epidemiology:
“Generally, descriptive data can tell us what kinds of people are at risk of developing certain health problems: what diabetes, disabilities or needs they have; how these problems are distributed in the population, who goes where for different kinds of health service, and who provides the health services they need in the community” Lundy et al. , 2009, 106). These findings aid in planning and strategizing priorities for health programs, maximizing and finding resources for more effective and quality health services, to link emerging needs, and to gauge and assess effectiveness of methods used in the control and prevention of diseases.
In addition to this, it was emphasized that state of health wellness can also be studied through descriptive epidemiology. Descriptive epidemiology creates specific hypotheses that can be used for planning strategies towards the overall investigation of a disease. Three levels of prevention are considered helpful in type 1 childhood diabetes management. These are primary, secondary and tertiary preventions. Primary prevention is any measure that could prevent immune-mediated destruction of islet or B-cells from happening.
It is about assessment of risk factors and modifying or completely eliminating those that may cause diabetes. At this stage, all the trigger factors are identified so that appropriate strategies can be performed. Dietary measures are also included in this level. Secondary prevention is when the disease could not be stopped from happening and the aim is to stop it from progressing further. Immunosuppressive drugs are used during this point to slow progression of the disease or result in a honeymoon period. Unfortunately, this honeymoon period only lasts for over a year, and this calls for tertiary prevention.
When diabetes is already on a critical level and proper maintenance measures are needed, the prevention level now is tertiary. Insulin dependency now turns as a necessity and long-term body changes can be experienced. It is a must to watch out for the development of severe organ diseases secondary to diabetes. Therapeutic combinations of these three levels of prevention are exercise, diet and insulin administration. Childhood diabetes has become one of the most common childhood metabolic disorders worldwide.
Prevention is absolutely better than cure for all illnesses and not only for diabetes. The first step is to identify and thoroughly assess risk factors that can generate disease progress. If the child already has diabetes, it is a must for health professionals to cautiously manage hyperglycemia and other secondary diseases related to diabetes to inhibit long-term complications from occurring. The disease course of childhood diabetes may be silent, but comprehensive assessment and quality care are the keys for a diabetic child’s health improvement. References Dabelea, D. & Klingensmith, G. J. 2008).
Epidemiology of pediatric and adolescent diabetes. Informa Health Care. Davidson, J. K. 2000). Clinical Diabetes Mellitus: A Problem-oriented Approach. Thieme. Goran, M. I. & Sothern, M. 2006). Handbook of pediatric obesity: etiology, pathophysiology, and prevention. CRC Press. Ludwig, S, et al. , 2008). Visual handbook of pediatrics and child health: the core. Lippincott Williams and Wilkins. Lundy, K. S. , Lundy, K. S. , Janes, S. & Dubuisson, W. 2009). Community Health Nurins: Caring for the Public’s Health. Jones & Bartlett Publishers.
National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. September 30, 2008. Diabetic Public Health Resource. Retrieved April 30, 2009, from http://www. cdc. gov/diabetes/projects/cda2. htm Ollendick, T. H. & Schroeder, C. S. 2003). Encyclopedia of Clinical Child and Pediatric Psychology. Springer. Pilliteri, A. 2003). Maternal and Child Nursing Care: Care of the Childbearing and Childrearing Family. Lippincott Williams and Wilkins. World Health Organization. November 2008. Diabetes. Retrieved April 30, 2009, from http://www. who. int/topics/diabetes_mellitus/en/