Abstract 12146: African American Perceptions Surrounding Hypertension
Purpose: Explore African Americans’ (AAs’) perceptions surrounding causes of their hypertension (HTN) and its treatment, both prescribed and non-prescribed.
Background: Over 76 million Americans have HTN; AAs are disproportionately affected. Among people ≥ 20 years of age in the U.S., 34% of AAs versus 24% of Whites have HTN. African Americans also have higher HTN-related mortality. It is important to understand AAs’ perceptions of HTN and its treatment in order to develop culturally-sensitive interventions to improve outcomes for this at-risk population.
Methods: We used purposive sampling to recruit AAs with HTN who were > 21 years of age from an urban clinic that provides free health care and medications. We conducted and recorded one hour individual interviews focusing on perceived causes and treatment. We analyzed verbatim transcripts using content analysis and constant comparison and conducted medical record audits for the previous 12 months to confirm HTN and prescribed treatment.
Results: Twenty-nine AAs participated (15 females, 14 males; mean age 49.5 years; 100% had taken anti-HTN medication ≥ 6 months and 52% for ≥ 5 years; most had ≥ 12th grade education; 96% reported adherence to prescribed medication). Audits revealed elevated blood pressure at 41% of the visits. Perceived HTN causes included dietary traditions; 100% reported making dietary changes to lower blood pressure. However, 21% reported using seasonings that contain salt as a means to lower their salt intake. 70% reported supplementing prescribed medications with alternative approaches including drinking pickle juice.
Conclusions: This sample of AAs with HTN attempted to be adherent to medications and dietary recommendations but almost half of their office visits for the previous 12 months indicated uncontrolled HTN. They reported listening to providers’ advice about diet but they did not know how to correctly modify it and tried home remedies that were detrimental to their HTN. It is imperative that providers educate patients concerning specific dietary modifications to lower blood pressure and explore alternative treatments patients may be using. Future research should include development and testing of culturally sensitive interventions to improve HTN treatment outcomes.
- © 2013 by American Heart Association, Inc.