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Hypertension knowledge, heart healthy lifestyle practices and medication adherence among adults with hypertension

Hawa Ozien Abu, Hanan Aboumatar, Kathryn Carson, Robert Goldberg, Lisa Cooper


Objective: To assess patients’ knowledge about hypertension and its association with heart healthy lifestyle practices and medication adherence.

Methods: We conducted a cross sectional survey of 385 adults with hypertension treated at 2 primary care clinics in Baltimore, Maryland, USA. We used an 11-item measure to assess hypertension knowledge and obtained self-reports on dietary changes, engagement in aerobic exercise and medication adherence. 

Results: Approximately 85% of patients properly identified high blood pressure, but more than two-thirds were unaware that hypertension lasts a lifetime once diagnosed; one-third were unaware that hypertension could lead to renal disease. Patients with low hypertension knowledge were less likely to reduce their salt intake (OR=0.44 [95% CI: 0.24-0.72]) and eat less to lose weight (OR=0.48 [95% CI: 0.26-0.87]) than patients with high hypertension knowledge.

Conclusion: In general, patients were knowledgeable about hypertension, but most were unaware that hypertension is a lifelong condition and could lead to kidney disease. High knowledge of hypertension was associated with healthy lifestyle practices including eating less to lose weight and dietary salt reduction.

Practice Implications: Intensifying education strategies to improve patients’ knowledge of hypertension may enhance their engagement in heart healthy lifestyle practices for optimal blood pressure control.


Blood pressure control, heart healthy lifestyle practices, hypertension knowledge, lifestyle modification, medication adherence, patient awareness, patient counseling, patient education, person-centered healthcare

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