Counseling Uncontrolled Hypertension

Hypertension in African Americans improves with extra support services

(RxWiki News) African Americans have a greater risk of developing hypertension. They also have more trouble controlling it. Providing them extra support services can improve their health and lower blood pressure.

A recent study found that counseling patients with uncontrolled hypertension can improve their risk of heart disease. Results showed that the fully participating patients had a 1 percent decrease in their 4-year risk of developing heart disease.

They also had a significant decrease in their blood pressure.

"Controlling your blood pressure is important - speak with a doctor."

Dr. Yuanyuan Liang, of University of Texas Health Center at San Antonio, and colleagues led the study to determine if coaching and support of patients with uncontrolled hypertension could improve their heart disease risk and blood pressure.

A total of 280 African Americans aged 40 to 75 were enrolled in the study. They all had uncontrolled high blood pressure. Participants were randomly selected for the intervention and control group.

All of the patients received routine care and brochures about healthy living. Only the intervention group were offered extra support services.

The intervention group received phone calls from peer coaches every other month. They also had individual counseling sessions at the office. These sessions were in months with no phone calls. The total intervention lasted five months.

Almost half of the patients in the intervention group participated in all of the phone calls and counseling sessions.

The study used a special method of looking at the data. This allowed them to measure the effect of the intervention on the patients based on how much they participated. This was then compared to the control group. Normally studies look at the results of the whole intervention group, even if those not doing the treatment.

The researchers suggest that a more intensive intervention be developed. It should be modeled after the patients who are offered the support and coaching but did not take it.

This study is published online in the Medical Care Journal. It was funded by a grant from Pfizer Inc. to the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Yuanyuan Liang and fellow authors disclosed no conflicts of interest.

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Review Date: 
December 26, 2012