Date of Publication



An Initiative to Educate and Support Young Adults Diagnosed with Hypertension

Page Tomlinson, BS, RN, DNPc

Background: Hypertension is a common diagnosis in the US with significant long-term effects. While guidelines for optimal hypertension management exist, young adults lag behind older adults in treatment and control3. The young adult is arguably more capable of lifestyle changes, primarily due to fewer physical limitations than older adults. Promotion of disease self-management is the most effective way to engage young adults in seeking control over their blood pressure1,2. Lifestyle modification as a young adult decreases costs of care and risk for cardiovascular events, while lack of guidance and support at this stage of life may increase risk for cardiac events over their lifetime. This project examined disease self-management in young adults aged 18-39 years at a local primary care office.

Methods. Patients aged 18-39 years with diagnosis of hypertension were identified. A questionnaire on self-efficacy in hypertension management was sent and preference for lifestyle modification counseling (LMC) was assessed. Follow up calls placed. Semi-structured interviews conducted. Provider survey conducted.

Results: Three patients discussed their experience of being diagnosed with hypertension in semi-structured interviews. Fourteen patients were not interested in participating. Provider survey (n=7) response 100%. Patient information handout created.

Conclusions. While the literature demonstrates the positive effect of LMC on outcomes in hypertensive young adults, efforts to engage this population proved challenging. Young adults desire consistent guidance and support with lifestyle modification yet are unwilling to engage in lifestyle modification when they are asymptomatic and do not have rapport with the offering provider.

Key Words: hypertension, young adult, support, lifestyle modification

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  1. Johnson, H., Olson, A., Lamantia, J., Kind, A., Pandhi, N., Mendonça, E., Craven, M., & Smith, M. (2015). Documented lifestyle education among young adults with incident hypertension. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 30(5), 556-64.
  2. Trento, M., & Porta, M. (2012). Structured and Persistently Reinforced Patient Education Can Work. BMJ: British Medical Journal 345, e5100.
  3. Zhang, Y. E., & Moran, A. (2017). Trends in the Prevalence, Awareness, Treatment, and Control of Hypertension Among Young Adults in the United States, 1999 to 2014. Hypertension, 70(4), 736-742.

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