Hypertension Education Foundation Survey Reports 86% of Hispanics Diagnosed with High Blood...

Hypertension Education Foundation Survey Reports 86% of Hispanics Diagnosed with High Blood Pressure are Taking Medication but Still Suggests a Need for Improved Awareness about Its Risks

Findings underscore need for improved education and lifestyle management among Hispanics


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New York, NY–(HISPANIC PR WIRE)–May 21, 2007–A survey conducted by Harris Interactive for the Hypertension Education Foundation (HEF) reveals significant gaps in the understanding some Hispanics have about the risks associated with hypertension—also known as high blood pressure (HBP) – and what they can do to manage the condition.

“The good news from the survey is that many in the Hispanic community with high blood pressure are being treated and are following their medication regimens,” said Dr. Marvin Moser, president of the HEF. “Unfortunately, the survey makes it equally clear that high blood pressure in this population is not fully controlled and that this may be partially due to a lack of information about the impact high blood pressure can have on health, as well as what can be done to lessen risks through lifestyle changes.”

High blood pressure affects nearly one in four adults (60 million) in the United States. It has been estimated that about half of Americans with high blood pressure do not know they have the condition because it has no noticeable symptoms. The condition is a primary or contributing cause of death for over a quarter of a million people in the US each year and is a significant risk factor for coronary heart disease that can also lead to stroke, heart attack, or heart and kidney failure. Over 22% of Hispanic women and almost 25% of Hispanic men have high blood pressure; the leading causes of death among Hispanic adults are stroke and heart disease.

The survey was supported by a grant from King Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and polled 1,245 adults age 45+ who had been diagnosed with hypertension.

On a positive note, the survey shows that 77% of Hispanic respondents are aware that 120/80 is the optimal blood pressure. A large majority also report taking medication to help control their blood pressure (86%), and 87% report that they always take their medication as directed.

However, the study also suggests that many Hispanics currently rely solely on medication to control the condition and are not following healthy lifestyle guidelines; 50% of Hispanic respondents report that they are not following a healthy diet because they are taking medication to control their blood pressure. Specifically, Hispanics are more likely to report not exercising regularly because they are taking medication that controls their blood pressure (34%) than either their Caucasian or African-American counterparts (26% and 24% respectively).

Almost half (47%) of Hispanic respondents had been told by their doctors that their blood pressure was still too high at some time during their treatment, even though most respondents are taking medication to help control their hypertension.

The survey provides evidence that suggests a lack of communication between patients and their healthcare providers regarding information on managing hypertension; 19% of Hispanic respondents reported not knowing the specific goal of treatment and 35% reported not having been told their treatment goal by their healthcare provider. In addition, of the Hispanic population polled, only 38% exercise regularly, 64% follow a healthy diet, 28% perform relaxation techniques, and 30% limit daily alcohol intake in order to treat the condition, numbers which suggest that many Hispanics do not understand the importance of lifestyle changes in the management of high blood pressure.

Hispanics are similarly under-informed about the risks associated with high blood pressure. Although almost all of the Hispanic respondents associate heart attack risks with high blood pressure (94%), only 83% do so with strokes. And, when it comes to other risks, such as atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) (75%), enlarged heart (60%) and failure of the kidneys to function properly (46%), the knowledge gap is wider. More than one third (34%) of respondents report that they had not been told and 14% report that they are not sure if they had been told by their doctor about the cardiovascular risks associated with high blood pressure.

“The survey results show that even among Hispanics being treated for hypertension, there is still a lack of complete knowledge or concern among many of them about the risks associated with the condition. Although Hispanic respondents were more likely to be treated for diabetes and high cholesterol in addition to hypertension, it is alarming how many were not taking even the most basic steps – such as following a healthy diet or exercising – to improve their health,” says Dr. Frank Lavernia, an adjunct faculty member of the Coalition for the Advancement of Cardiovascular Health and founder of the Diabetes Center at the North Broward Medical Center. “Given the prevalence of end organ damage associated with high blood pressure, it’s especially important to convey to the Hispanic population not only the importance of actively managing this disease, but that it is possible to reduce related risks with the right treatment, including lifestyle changes, proper medication, and patient education.”

“People’s understanding—or misunderstanding—of high blood pressure is a key factor in how patients try to control it,” Dr. Moser, who is also Clinical Professor of Medicine at the Yale University School of Medicine and the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Clinical Hypertension, notes. “Effective treatment of hypertension is one of the most dramatic examples of successful disease prevention, but this survey shows that we still have a long way to go. Successful lowering of blood pressure will reduce strokes and stroke deaths, heart failure and heart attacks by 35-50 %. Given the significant percentages of Hispanic adults with high blood pressure, it is imperative that this population be better informed about the cardiovascular risks of hypertension and what can be done to reduce them.”

Methodology

This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of the Hypertension Education Foundation and King Pharmaceuticals, Inc. between January 4 and 17, 2007 among 1,245 adults, aged 45 and over, who have been diagnosed with hypertension. Figures for education, age, sex, race/ethnicity, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

With a pure probability sample of 1,245 adults (including 112 Hispanics), one could say with a ninety-five percent probability that the overall results have a sampling error of +/- 3 percentage points. Sampling error for data based on sub-samples would be higher and would vary. However, that does not take other sources of error into account. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

About HEF

The Hypertension Education Foundation, Inc. (HEF) was incorporated as a public foundation in 1977 for the purpose of increasing both physician and public awareness of the problems of treating HBP and promoting research and teaching efforts in the field of hypertension. It has organized and participated in more than 50 hypertension symposia throughout the US over the past eight years and has sponsored Visiting Lecturers’, Fellowships in hypertension and other educational programs, as well as research into the causes of hypertension in different ethnic groups. The HEF distributes two educational booklets, “High Blood Pressure: What You Should Know About It and What You Can Do To Help Your Doctor Treat It” and “High Blood Pressure and Diabetes: Control Them and Live Longer.” These, as well as other patient education materials, can be downloaded from the HEF Web site, http://www.hypertensionfoundation.org.

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is the 12th largest and fastest-growing market research firm in the world. The company provides innovative research, insights and strategic advice to help its clients make more confident decisions which lead to measurable and enduring improvements in performance. Harris Interactive is widely known for The Harris Poll, one of the longest running, independent opinion polls and for pioneering online market research methods. The company has built what it believes to be the world’s largest panel of survey respondents, the Harris Poll Online. Harris Interactive serves clients worldwide through its United States, Europe and Asia offices, its wholly-owned subsidiaries Novatris in France and MediaTransfer AG in Germany, and through a global network of independent market research firms. More information about Harris Interactive may be obtained at http://www.harrisinteractive.com.

To become a member of the Harris Poll Online and be invited to participate in online surveys, register at http://www.harrispollonline.com.

Hypertension Education Foundation Survey Reports 86% of Hispanics Diagnosed with High Blood Pressure are Taking Medication but Still Suggests a Need for Improved Awareness about Its Risks