Older Americans Need More Knowledge About High Blood Pressure

A telephone survey of 1,503 Americans age 50 or older was published recently by Dr. Brent Egan from the Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, in the March 24, 2003 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine. Although 94% had their blood pressure measured at least once in the past year, only 46% knew how much it was. Of all the patients who knew that they had a systolic blood pressure of 140 mm mercury or higher, 30% did not know that this was abnormal and was called “systolic hypertension (high blood pressure)”. 20% of patients with established high blood pressure did not take their medication or had on their own reduced the amount of medication they should have taken. In this group only about 1 in 5 complained that the cost of the medication would have been the reason for stopping the blood pressure pills.

Below are some more general results regarding this study in table form.

Apart from the remarks on the importance of education mentioned in the table I would like to stress how important it is for patients with high blood pressure to learn how to measure their own blood pressure at home.

Older Americans Need More Knowledge About High Blood Pressure

Older Americans Need More Knowledge About High Blood Pressure

The method of how to do this is not as important as the fact that you buy and use some kind of home blood pressure measuring device (either the conventional bood pressure cuff or the more expensive electronic device). You can measure and record your own blood pressure either daily or 3 to 4 times per week and bring this record with you to the doctor’s office with your next check-up. With this method you will gradually learn what life style factors bring your blood pressure up and how much medicine you need to take to control the blood pressure at all times. This will prevent major events such as heart attacks and strokes and preserve eye-sight and kidney function.
Here are the results of a telephone survey regarding older Americans and their understanding of high blood pressure (modified from March 24, 2003 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine).

Results of a telephone survey regarding older Americans and their understanding of high blood pressure
(modified from March 24, 2003 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine)
Older Americans have a higher rate of high blood pressure, particularly high systolic blood pressure This makes it even more important that they learn more about it and that they learn to measure
their blood pressure at home.
Older Americans are not as educated about high blood pressure than the younger generation Likely related to upbringing and different interests; in the past healthcare was left to physicians and nurses. Now we realize that only we can look after ourselves, the physicians
and nurses are “health consultants” whom we hire to advise us.
Older Americans prefer an integrated approach to the treatment of high blood pressure utilizing traditional, complementary and alternative treatments The authors concluded that a combination of education and holistic management strategies likely would work best. This needs to include new research on identifying the
most effective treatments. I would like to add that weight loss (in case of increased BMI), exercise and a zone-like diet would help complement traditional drug regimens
very effectively as well.

Here are various useful links regarding related topics.

Link regarding body mass index (BMI) .

Link regarding high blood pressure(hypertension)

Last edited December 9, 2012