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Spirituality Helps Older Black Women Beat Hypertension

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Spirituality helps older black American women with high blood pressure stick to the drug regimens that keep the condition under control, new research suggests.

Older black Americans tend to have poorer anti-hypertensive medication adherence than either younger blacks or white patients, even though adherence helps reduce hypertension-related health problems and deaths, noted a team from the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing.

This study included 21 black women, average age 73, who were members of a Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly. The women had been diagnosed with hypertension for an average of 16.7 years, and they were taking an average of 3.3 prescriptions to battle the condition.

All the women said they used their spirituality to manage their medication adherence. As part of this process, identified as "Partnering with God to Manage My Medications," the women accepted personal responsibility for adhering to their medication regimen and used their spirituality as a resource to make decisions to remain adherent, to cope with medication side effects, and to increase their ability to deal with barriers that kept them from sticking with their medicines.

The findings suggest that incorporating patients' beliefs into hypertension treatment may help them draw on inner resources to improve medication adherence, the researchers concluded.

The study was to be presented Wednesday at the American Heart Association annual meeting in Orlando, Fla.

More information, visit The American Heart Association has more about blood pressure medications.

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