Men, Blacks in Particular, Less Likely Than Women to Be Aware That They Have High Blood Pressure, Study Finds
Men are one-quarter less likely than women to know that they have high blood pressure and black men with high blood pressure, are particularly unlikely to know of their condition, according to study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, Reuters Health reports. For the study, lead researcher Ronald Victor of the University of Texas' Southwestern Medical Center examined 1,514 black and white adults between the ages of 18 and 64 who participated in a heart health study that diagnosed them with high blood pressure.
One-third of the group said they had never been diagnosed with high blood pressure, with men being more likely than women to say they had not been diagnosed. The men also were less likely than women to have visited a doctor, and black men were more likely than both women and white men to say they have not seen a doctor because they believed they did not need to. Researchers said the findings are consistent with previous studies indicating that men, in particular "marginalized minority men," often avoid visiting a doctor.
In addition, the study found that those who had a regular physician were nearly four times more likely than those who did not to know they had high blood pressure and more than eight times more likely to be taking medication for it.
Victor said, "There is no such thing as a 'well-man exam,' and maybe that's the issue. In our society, women learn to become health conscious in terms of preventive health care, and men don't have that kind of emphasis from a young age." He added, "The explanation of the disparity, while not clear, isn't closely associated with perceived discrimination at the doctor's office, which is a good thing" (Reuters Health, 7/2).
An abstract of the study is available online.