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Behavioral support from peers, staff lowers patients' blood pressure
Date:5/21/2012

SAN ANTONIO (May 21, 2012) Behavioral support from peers and primary care office staff can help patients improve their blood pressure control by as much as starting a new drug, a new study found. Barbara J. Turner, M.D., M.S.Ed., M.A., M.A.C.P., of UT Medicine San Antonio, is the senior author.

The randomized, controlled trial examined whether six months of intervention behavioral support from peers and primary care office staff could benefit African-American patients who had poor control of systolic pressure despite one to two years of prescriptions and office visits. Systolic pressure is the force of the blood against vessels as the heart contracts.

"These patients had previously failed to have their blood pressure controlled despite physicians continuing to intensity their medications, so we decided that adding more medicine just wasn't going to work," Dr. Turner said. "You start to think, what other things could I do for this person rather than just pills?"

Population has greater risk

The team focused the behavior support intervention especially on lowering blood pressure because it can be severe, even deadly, in its consequences, particularly for older African Americans. They are more likely than whites to die of heart disease and are less likely to achieve blood pressure control even with similar treatment, Dr. Turner said.

Dr. Turner is professor in the School of Medicine at The University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio and director of the REsearch to Advance Community Health (REACH) Center, a collaboration of the Health Science Center, the University Health System and The University of Texas School of Public Health. Researchers conducted the study in two urban academic internal medicine practices in Pennsylvania. Dr. Turner came to San Antonio from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

Lower systolic pressure

In the study, funded by the Robert Wood J
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Contact: Will Sansom
sansom@uthscsa.edu
210-567-2579
University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
Source:Eurekalert

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