Positive Affirmation Improves Hypertension

Blood pressure reduced by positive affirmation

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) In most cases blood pressure can easily be controlled by drugs. The key is ensuring patients stick to their drug regimen. That may be as simple as positive affirmation and small, unexpected gifts.

Better compliance in taking prescribed blood pressure medication can offer substantial improvement in controlling hypertension and reducing the risk of heart attacks or stoke.

"Stay positive to better your chance of managing hypertension."

Dr. Gbenga O. Ogedegbe, of the Center for Healthful Behavior Change at New York University School of Medicine, noted that positive affirmation combined with patient education helped ensure patients did a better job of taking their medication one year after beginning the program.

During the randomized controlled trial, researchers enrolled 256 African American patients taking medication to treat high blood pressure, and followed them for one year. Patients were divided into two groups. One group received standard patient education regarding hypertension. The second group was offered patient education combined with a program that featured positive affirmations and small unexpected gifts.

Both groups received hypertension self-management workbooks, but the second group's workbook included an extra chapter that focused on the benefits of positive moments in overcoming obstacles to medication adherence.

The positive affirmation group was asked to identify small things that gave them positive feelings and to incorporate them into their daily lives during monthly phone calls. They also were reminded to recall core values and proud moments when they come across situations that make it difficult for them to take their medication. In addition, group members received small gifts in the mail before each monthly call.

Investigators found that 12 months later, 42 percent of those in the positive affirmation group had complied with taking their medication as compared to 36 percent in the group that received traditional hypertension treatment. Researchers concluded that a small drop in blood pressure among those in the positive affirmation group was not statistically significant.

Researchers suggest future studies should evaluate the cost effectiveness of incorporating similar programs into a patient's primary care.

The study was recently published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
January 24, 2012
Last Updated:
January 24, 2012