Diseases of the heart or the blood vessels have become increasingly prevalent in the US hence the need for timely intervention to curb the escalation of the menace. Cases of cardiovascular disease hospitalizations in the state of Florida have raised eyebrows thus necessitating the need for intervention to prevent the escalation of the health condition. At least 1.1 million cardiovascular disease admissions were reported in Florida between 2000 and 2006 with a significant proportion of the affected being the Hispanic racial group (Heidenreich et al., 2015). These numbers were higher than the cases reported in Texas and California, which recorded 980,000 and 877,000 cases respectively during the same period (Heidenreich et al., 2015). In this respect, this paper analyzes the issue of cardiovascular prevalence in South Florida. Background to the condition would be conducted before analyzing the surveillance methods put in place. Additionally, an epidemiological analysis of the disease, cost analysis, and review of the screening strategies would be undertaken to set the pace for addressing the issue upon graduation as a nurse.
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Background to the cardiovascular disease
The term “cardiovascular disease” could be applied interchangeably with the term “heart disease” to describe a collection of conditions that affect the heart. Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are conditions characterized by a reduction of the blood circulation to the heart, body, or brain due to instances of blood clots (thrombosis) or the accumulation of fatty deposits on the walls of the arteries. The result of such fat build-up induces atherosclerosis, which is a situation characterized by the hardening and narrowing of the arteries. The hardened arteries cause the formation of blood clots that inhibit blood flow that could result in stroke or heart attack (Bhatnagar, Wickramasinghe, Williams, Rayner, & Townsend, 2015).
The four main types of cardiovascular disease include coronary heart disease, stroke, peripheral arterial disease, and aortic disease. The major risk factors for the increased prevalence of the condition in the region of South Florida include high blood pressure (hypertension), smoking, high blood cholesterol, obesity, and diabetes. The lack of physical exercise, family history regarding the disease, and ethnic background as depicted by the high cases of Hispanic population hospitalizations are additional risk factors for the prevalence of the disease in South Florida. In the South Florida region, coronary artery disease (CAD) is the most common heart complication.
The signs for CVDs may vary based on sex and the nature of the disease. In this regard, different clinical manifestations may be recorded from a variety of patients. The common signs and symptoms triggered by abnormal heartbeats (heart arrhythmias), heart defects, weak heart muscle (dilated cardiomyopathy), and heart infections include the following. Chest pain, breath shortness, pain weakness, or numbness of the legs and arms, pain in the jaw, neck, throat, and back coupled with chest flattening. Additionally, racing or slow heartbeats, lightheadedness, dizziness, fatigue, and fainting are also clinical depictions of CVD (Wang, Lerman, & Herrmann, 2015).
Research findings portray that 80 out of every1000 Floridians have been hospitalized for complications of the heart thus ranking the state as the 15th most CVD prevalent region in the US (Heidenreich et al., 2015). The areas most affected in Florida include Panhandle, Palm Beach County, and Broward County. The state of Florida has been reported to have the greatest cases of adult hospitalizations regarding CDV’s whereby, the whites, blacks, and Hispanics averaged 78.6, 83.3, and 78.3 reports per 1000 individuals respectively (Heidenreich et al., 2015). The national statistics stand at 74.4, 85.3, and 73.6 for the whites, blacks, and Hispanics correspondingly per 1000 persons. The overall cases in South Florida as recorded in Broward County, Palm Beach County, and Miami Dale County averaged at 75, 78, and 78 reports per 1000 persons respectively (Heidenreich et al., 2015). The statistics depict the high prevalence of CVDs in the region necessitating strategic and timely intervention.
Current surveillance methods
Heart diseases surveillance and reporting is an essential aspect of curbing the high prevalence of the condition in the region of South Florida. In this regard, the Surveillance Epidemiology section of the Florida Health Department has put in place measures that seek to monitor the trends of the disease in the state. In collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Surveillance Epidemiology Section conducts weekly reporting activities regarding the CVDs in the region. Further, training, lectures, and publications have been carried out to offer health education opportunities to the Floridians concerning the CVD menace (Wang et al., 2015).
The surveillance undertakings through surveys among other techniques have identified the lack of physical activity, tobacco use, and poor nutrition as the major risk factors for the disease. In this essence, the collection of data regarding the CVDs in the State of Florida has facilitated the development of policies that seek the mitigation of the public health issue in the region.
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Descriptive epidemiology of CVD illustrates the distributive aspects of the disease by focusing on the person, place, and time. CVDs account for 25%-50%of the global deaths depending on the economic aspects of the victims. The manifestations of the disease have been triggered by early childhood and youth lifestyle, especially at 20 years when the atherosclerotic plaques and lesions of blood vessels start to develop. The 34-44 age group is the most prevalent in reporting increased cases of morbidity and mortality (Wong & Levy, 2013). Developing countries have greater tendencies of CVD prevalence due to the adoption of detrimental western lifestyle patterns. Conversely, the developed regions where improved lifestyle patterns, advanced diagnostic, and therapeutic processes have assisted in keeping the disease at bay in most cases.
The high cases of CVD in South Florida especially among Hispanics and African Americans can be pointed out by the living standards caused by income disparities and different lifestyles. Therefore, the residents need to adopt certain characteristics that mitigate the growth of the disease in the region. The characteristics would include embracing healthy dietary habits, increased physical activity, reduced tobacco use, and managing stress.
Heart diseases in the US are regarded as one of the costly health issues affecting the country. The CVD lost productivity and expenditure in the US account for at least $312.6 billion annually, which depicts the seriousness of the disorders. The social detriments caused by the 610,000 annual deaths due to CVDs have developed challenges as households cope with the loss of their loved ones (Bhatnagar et al., 2015).
Diagnosis and Screening of CVD
The common diagnosis techniques for CVD include Electrocardiogram (ECG), Holter monitoring, Echocardiogram, Cardiac computerized tomography (CT) scan, Cardiac catheterization, and Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The ECG employs electrical signals to detect heart rhythm irregularities while the Holter monitor is used to complement the ECG exam after 24 to 72 hours. The echocardiogram monitors the heart’s ultrasound. Cardiac catheterization involves the insertion of a sheath to the veins or arteries around the groin or arm to monitor the pressure of the blood through X-rays. Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and CT scans involve the use of magnetic fields and X-rays to evaluate the condition of the heart (Bhatnagar et al., 2015).
The recommended heart health screening recommended includes blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglycerides tests, body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, blood glucose tests, and discussions of diet, smoking, and physical activity. The screenings should start at 20 years of age (Wong & Levy, 2013).
Blood pressure screening is strategic in monitoring individuals’ health status regarding the condition. The sensitivity and specificity aspects of the blood pressure screening identify the affected group since heartbeat irregularities are monitored (Wang et al., 2015). The predictive value of the screening strategy fosters the validity of the approach since the potential results of the manifestations would be identified. Additionally, the biannual recommended screenings are cost-effective to both the public and health sectors in the US.
Addressing CDV in nursing practice
Upon my graduation and engagement in nursing practice, addressing the issue of CVD prevalence in regions like South Florida would facilitate the mitigation of its adverse effects. In this regard, I would advocate for preventive measures that would include the adoption of quality dietary habits, increased physical exercise, and the fight against tobacco usage. The results would be evaluated based on the reduced CVD cases triggered by addressed risk factors.
Cardiovascular diseases are a serious threat to the health status of individuals not only in South Florida but also in the entire US population. Thus, the surveillance methods adopted by the Surveillance Epidemiology section in the Florida Health Department require continuous monitoring of the disease to counter its escalation. The epidemiological aspects of the CVD condition depict the triggers for the clinical manifestations of the disease, thus necessitating the development of strategic screening and preventive efforts. Therefore, addressing the issue comprehensively in the practice of nursing would assist in the curtailment of the CVD prevalence in various regions of the US.
Bhatnagar, P., Wickramasinghe, K., Williams, J., Rayner, M., & Townsend, N. (2015). The epidemiology of the cardiovascular disease in the UK 2014. Heart, 101(15), 1182-1189.
Heidenreich, A., Trogdon, G., Khavjou, A., Butler, J., Dracup, K., Ezekowitz, M. D.,…& Woo, Y. (2011). Forecasting the future of cardiovascular disease in the United States a policy statement from the American heart association. Circulation, 123(8), 933-944.
Wang, F., & Lerman, A., & Herrmann, J. (2015). Dysfunction of the ubiquitin-proteasome system in atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. American Journal of Cardiovascular Disease, 5(1), 83-100.
Wong, D. & Levy, D. (2013). Legacy of the Framingham Heart Study: rationale, design, initial findings, and implications. Global Heart, 8, 3–9.