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When I found out I had all the sickness, hypertensive patient experiences integrating management of co-occurring health conditions.

Fix GM, Solomon J, Cortes D, Cohn ES, Bokhour BG. When I found out I had all the sickness, hypertensive patient experiences integrating management of co-occurring health conditions. Paper presented at: American Anthropological Association Society for Medical Anthropology International Conference; 2009 Aug 24; New Haven, CT.




Abstract:

Patient explanatory models of hypertension are being integrated into both healthcare and research. However, this approach does not adequately address how patients conceptualize and manage hypertension alongside co-occurring conditions. Over 70% of people with hypertension have at least one other chronic condition such as diabetes, respiratory, or cardiovascular problems. This presentation illuminates conceptual frameworks of hypertension in relation to other conditions. In-depth, semi-structured interviews about hypertension management were conducted at two medical centers with 48 patients who had uncontrolled hypertension. A multidisciplinary team analyzed the interviews using emergent thematic analysis. Combined with understandings of hypertension, disentangling symptoms and treatments of multiple ailments was confusing for patients. They expressed concern about the harm in taking numerous medications and worried about potential interactions. Because hypertension has no symptoms, patients may attend more closely to conditions in which treatment has a perceptible effect. Participants discussed difficulties with complex or seemingly conflicting regimens. They struggled with incompatible health recommendations, such as exercise, which can be difficult for people with limitations in lung function or mobility. These results will be conceptualized within a biocultural model of health, which affords the ability to better understand cultural and biological aspects at the intersections of multiple health conditions.





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