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Revista de Saúde Pública

On-line version ISSN 1518-8787


PERES, Denise S; MAGNA, Jocelí Mara  and  VIANA, Luis Atílio. Arterial hypertension patients: attitudes, beliefs, perceptions, thoughts and practices. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 2003, vol.37, n.5, pp.635-642. ISSN 1518-8787.

OBJECTIVE: To get to know arterial hypertension patients through their attitudes, beliefs, perceptions, thoughts, and practices related to the disease. METHODS: An exploratory study was carried out in 32 hypertensive patients seen at 2 health care units in the municipal district of Ribeirão Preto, Brazil. Subjects were interviewed in a single session and data were analyzed using the Content Analysis method through categories not defined a priori. RESULTS: About half the patients (41%) were not able to define hypertension. They believed the main symptoms were headaches and neck pain (18%) and the possible consequences of the disease were stroke and heart attack (39%). Emotional factors were mentioned as the ones that mostly impair hypertension control. To accomplish that, 40% said there should be changes in the diet and life style, such as walking and exercising. Regarding patients' practices, drug treatment and management by a health provider were most often referred. CONCLUSIONS: Psychosocial aspects and health beliefs seem to affect directly with patients' knowledge on hypertensive disease and their health practices. Given that all patients had already received some kind of information about arterial hypertension before the beginning of the study, it would be important to propose new forms of educating these patients.

Keywords : Hypertension; Knowledge, attitudes, practice; Health education; Blood pressure.

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