KNOWLEDGE AND PERCEPTION OF HYPERTENSION AND ITS MANAGEMENT AMONG CLIENTS/PATIENTS
Hypertension is an important public health challenge at Auchi Nigeria. The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological survey was to determine hypertensive patients’ knowledge, perceptions, attitudes and life-style practices so as to optimize their health and treatment needs. We examined a cohort of 108 randomly selected hypertensive by means of a self-structured questionnaire and a detailed interview. Analysis was by statistical package for social sciences (SPSS) and chi- square was used for significance tests at 0.05 level. More males 60 (55.6%) than females 48 (44.4%) were assessed. Their age range was 35 – 80 years (mean = 59.05 ± 9.06 years), the modal age group was 56 – 60 years (24.1%). Sixty-six respondents (61%) knew hypertension to be high blood pressure (BP), 22 (20%) thought it meant excessive thinking and worrying while 57 (53%) claimed it was hereditary. Forty-three (40%) felt it was caused by malevolent spirits, 32 (30%) believed it was caused by bad food or poisoning. A few (18%) knew some risk factors. Symptoms attributed to hypertensionwere headache, restlessness, palpitation, excessive pulsation of the superficial temporal artery and “internal heat”, but 80 (74%) attested to its correct diagnosis by BP measurement. Although 98 (90.7%) felt the disease indicated serious morbidity, only 36 (33.3%) were adherent with treatment and fewer practiced life-style modification. Thirty-two (30%) knew at least one antihypertensive drug they use. Psychosocial factors like depression and anxiety fear of addiction and intolerable drug adverse effects impacted negatively on patients’ attitude to treatment. We conclude that patients’ knowledge of hypertensionin Auchi is low and their attitudes to treatment negative. Patient education, motivation and public enlightenment are imperative.
1.1 Background of Study
Hypertension remains a major global public health challenge that has been identified as the leading risk factor for cardiovascular morbidity and mortality (Kearney, Whelton, Reynolds, Muntner, Whelton& He, 2004). It increases hardening of the arteries, thus predisposing individuals to heart diseases, peripheral vascular diseases, stroke, heart failure and kidney failure. Hypertension is the commonest non-communicable disease in the world and all races are affected with variable prevalence. Castelli (2004) explained that its prevalence is on the increase in developing countries where adoption of western lifestyle and stress of urbanization, both of which are expected to increase morbidity associated with unhealthy lifestyle are not on the decline.