Hypertension Essay

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Hypertension is considered to be a disease in which a constantly raised blood pressure, or higher than what is perceived “normal” blood pressure, causes a halt in organ function such as heart failure, a stroke etc (Opie, L. H.). Most people don’t even know that they have hypertension as a condition because they haven’t had their blood pressure measured at a health care facility. In South Africa Hypertension is usually considered to be a “silent killer” because most people do not even realise that they are suffering from it because of their lack of knowledge on the subject. “Consequently, hypertension is universally underdiagnosed and/or inadequately treated resulting in extensive target-organ damage and premature death. Furthermore, hypertension frequently co-exists with other risk factors for chronic diseases of lifestyle (CDL), such as diabetes and obesity” (Steyn, 2005).

Social cognitive theory relates the performance of a behaviour change to an individual’s expectations of his or her particular performance and their probability in accomplishing that particular change (Plake). In regards to this specific model there are two types of expectations, outcomes and efficacy. Outcome expectations referring specifically to an individual’s belief that performance of a specific task or behaviour will lead to a specific outcome. Efficacy expectations refer to a person’s belief that they will be able to perform that behaviour change. All of the above mentioned facts can link specifically to various health behaviours that require changing in regards to Hypertension. When looking at specific health behaviours that are most often focused on there are five main areas which become prominent and seem to be the most problematic when dealing spe...

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...particularly those at high risk, to have their blood pressure checked. It is important that the community be informed about the need for screening, and understands the impact that poorly controlled blood pressure has on their health. The second element of hypertension management involves the early diagnoses of patients with hypertension by primary health-care services and the cost-effective management of the condition. It also involves educating patients about their condition and working with them in a way that will allow them to attain the highest possible level of compliance to their management. Health services should in addition to achieving good blood pressure control be screening on a regular basis for possible target-organ damage in their patients. South Africa needs to improve on both these aspects in order to promote and sustain good hypertension management.

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