IMAJ | volume 13
Journal 9, September 2011
Background: A crucial part of controlling blood pressure is non-pharmaceutical treatment. However, only a few studies specifically address the question of hypertensive patients’ compliance with physicians’ recommendations for a healthy lifestyle.
Objectives: To explore factors associated with hypertensive patients’ compliance with lifestyle recommendations regarding physical activity, smoking cessation and proper diet.
Methods: We performed a secondary data analysis of a representative sample of 1125 hypertensive patients in Israel's two largest health funds. Data were collected in 2002–2003 by telephone interviews using structured questionnaires. The response rate was 77%. Bivariate and multivariate analysis was conducted.
Results: About half of the hypertensive patients reported doing regular exercise and adhering to a special diet; 13% were smokers. About half reported receiving counseling on smoking cessation and diet and a third on physical exercise. A quarter reported receiving explanations regarding self-measurement of blood pressure and signs of deterioration. Multivariate analysis revealed that patients’ beliefs about hypertension management, their knowledge on hypertension and its management, and physician counseling on a healthy lifestyle and self-care, have an independent effect on compliance with recommended lifestyle behaviors.
Conclusions: The low counseling rates suggest that there may be a need to improve physicians’ counseling skills so that they will be more confident and effective in delivering this service to their patients. A model based on educating both physicians and patients may contribute to improving the care of hypertensive patients.