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Cadernos de Saúde Pública

Print version ISSN 0102-311X

Abstract

FIRMO, Josélia Oliveira Araújo; LIMA-COSTA, Maria Fernanda  and  UCHOA, Elizabeth. The Bambuí Health and Aging Study (BHAS): ways of thinking and acting among hypertensive older adults. Cad. Saúde Pública [online]. 2004, vol.20, n.4, pp. 1029-1040. ISSN 0102-311X.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0102-311X2004000400018.

The ways older adults think about and react to high blood pressure were studied through an anthropological approach based on the Signs, Meanings, and Actions model 1. Twenty-six older adults (> 60 years) participated in the study, randomly selected among hypertensive participants in the baseline of the Bambuí cohort study. The central thrust of narratives showed a clear distinction between a "blood pressure problem" and high blood pressure. High blood pressure is perceived as caused mainly by family problems and is easily recognized by the identification of certain specific manifestations; blood pressure is only considered problematic when it increases, and this is the only moment in which interventions are considered necessary. Consequently, the importance of seeking treatment or following a medical prescription depends on the identification of rising blood pressure, either by the presence of specific symptoms or subjective conditions favoring the rise. Economic difficulties are also identified by seniors as factors hindering their ability to initiate or continue treatment of hypertension.

Keywords : Aged; Hypertension; Anthropology.

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