Controlling Blood Pressure

Patients diagnosed with hypertension may have to adopt a treatment plan that engulfs medication, dietary restrictions and regular doctor visits. Providing care and attention to such patients appears extremely beneficial especially for some African American populations. Experts from the UMass Medical School assert that a storytelling approach like passing on positive messages aimed at controlling hypertension through diet and medication adherence helps control blood pressure.

While conducting the study, 299 African American patients suffering from hypertension were provided with either usual care or made to view three videos that presented stories of real patients with the condition. Those with uncontrolled hypertension seeing the stories possibly had better blood pressure control than patients receiving usual care. A difference in blood pressure control favoring the intervention group appeared throughout the investigation. Uncontrolled hypertension patients in the intervention group allegedly had a 10 mmHg advantage in systolic blood pressure reduction relative to control.

Substantial advantages were also registered for diastolic pressure among patients with uncontrolled hypertension. Blood pressure for both groups apparently elevated over time, but the relative advantage for the intervention group maintained until the end of follow up. It was concluded that delivering messages through DVDs help patients to positively change behavior.

The study is published in the January 18 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.