Opportunities for the Advanced Practice Nurse to Enhance Hypertension Knowledge and Self-management Among African American Women

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Abstract

Purpose:

Despite increased awareness and the advent of methods to manage the disease, hypertension is poorly controlled among African American women. This study explored hypertension knowledge and blood pressure in a sample of African American women.

Design:

A descriptive, cross-sectional design was used to collect survey data on hypertension knowledge.

Methods:

African American women attending a church conference were invited to complete a questionnaire, which included the Check Your High Blood Pressure Prevention IQ survey, and had their blood pressures measured.

Results:

Of the 151 women who participated, 62% were diagnosed with hypertension. Many of the women, even those not diagnosed with hypertension, had elevated blood pressures. Although the average scores showed that the women scored well on the survey, there were 4 items on the survey that a percentage of the women had difficulty with: questions about (1) stress as a cause of hypertension, (2) symptoms associated with high blood pressure, (3) whether hypertension could be cured, and (4) the amount of exercise needed to help reduce blood pressure.

Conclusion:

Despite efforts to increase awareness and control of hypertension, considerable misconceptions about the disease were found in this sample of African American women. To improve self-management of hypertension among this group, advanced practice nurses need to directly address these misconceptions.

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