Perceived Health Status and Morbidity – Epidemiology Example

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This paper " Perceived Health Status and Morbidity" is a wonderful example of medical research. All branches of theoretical science require causal concepts as a way of basing claims and providing solutions to the situations that arise. As such various methods of deducing and inducing inferences to exist. The study examines one of these methods as being the method of using causal criteria. Even though it is non-experimental and is not appropriate for making inductive and deductive inferences, it is an observational method that bases its argument and causal inferences on the best explanation to the condition that is.

The writer goes ahead to prove that aspects of statistical and observational associations have a role to play in making justified causal claims and relates this to the central issue of the study as the use of causal criteria to create a justification in bringing out causal claims. The study focuses more on the 1965 theory of causal criteria as proposed and driven by Bradford Hill and has come to be known as the Bradford Hill criteria. It is evident and inevitable that various aspects of the Bradford Hill criteria be included in both the observational, experimental, and statistical methods of deriving causal associations.

The strength of the association, consistency, specificity, temporality, biological gradients, plausibility, coherence, experiments, and analogy are the main concepts upon which the Hill criteria is pillared (Hill, 1965). The study focuses on the effects of perceived health status and its association to the outcomes which include mortality as a result of heart disease. This is on the basis of the fact that perceived health reflects an individual’ s awareness of the symptoms, diagnoses, and performance decrements that are associated with mortality risk.

As such, the study involves the analysis of the Kuopio ischemic heart disease patients as the study population; consider the measurement of the health awareness, risk factors and the eight disease category to establish a relationship between the health perception and the risk of mortality (international journal of epidemiology, 1996). Methods/ design   The perceived health measure is achieved by administering a personal questionnaire to the study population asking them the question, “ how do you rate your current state of health? ” and the response is grouped into; good or extremely good, average and bad or extremely bad.

(IEJ, 1996). The risk factors on the other hand are measured by computing the body mass index as a ratio of the weight to the height squared, high and low-density lipoprotein fractions separated from plasma using ultracentrifugation, and precipitation and blood pressure were taken as the mean of the random zero sphygmomanometers after a rest of 5-10 minutes. Questionnaires on conditioning leisure time activities, smoking status, alcohol consumption, and current income were also administered to give more insight into the risk factors Furthermore, the health status measures were also taken in the study in terms of disease groups from symptomatic to asymptomatic coronary heart disease to other cardiovascular diseases.

Also checked were stroke, respiratory disease, hypertension and diabetes (IEJ, 1996, p. 260) Findings and the BH criteria The study data as obtained from the questionnaire and clinical analysis risk factors and the resulting mortality present a scenario of the strength of association as relates to causal claims. This is because, it was found that in the category of mortality and myocardial infarction outcomes, perceived health was strongly associated with the risk of death from all causes of cardiovascular disease.

The people who rated their health as being bad or extremely bad were t over sixfold risk of death as compared to their counterparts who rated their health as average who in turn are relatively at higher risk that than those who responded that their health was good or extremely good. Coherence is also another criterion used in the analysis as a way of coming up with a causal claim.

(Hill, 1965) This is because, in the data from the study, the tests and questionnaires administered on the respondents of various ages and suffering from various conditions come out as uniform and coherent. The interpretation comes to the finality that individuals who respond to perceive their health as being extremely bad are more likely to die from the risk factors involved in the various diseases (IEJ, 1996). The experiment is one other basic and very important criterion for associating a cause and a condition (Hill, 1965). As such, the study conducts experiments on a study population and collects statistical data that helps to associate the cause and the result, which in this case, is the relationship between health awareness and the risk of mortality from risk factors of heart disease (IEJ, 1996, p. 266). When comparisons are done on various studies and experiments and the varying results put into consideration.

The analogy used as a causal criterion is used to identify the association between specific risk factors and the result. For instance the mortality as a result of myocardial infarction among the population that thought their health extremely bad and those that occurred as a result of the lung function or fitness but said the same thing about their health shows a positive analogy that can be used to infer that health perceived health has a strong association with the mortality as a result of the risk factors of the heart disease (IJE, 1996.

P. 266)         


Hill. A. B. (1965). The Environment and Disease: Association or Causation? Proceedings Of

The Royal Society Medicine 58(5) Pp295-300

International journal of epidemiology (1996): perceived health status and morbidity and mortality:

Evidence from the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study. Pp250-265

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