5 Lessons About Health Disparities in Hypertension

Equality is the bedrock of health, change, and progress, which lies at the heart of what we do at Talance. We strive to further equality within our company but also the neighborhoods, schools and workplaces where you live and work. In the past year, for example, we’ve created courses on hypertension, tobacco use, immunizations, wellness (among others!) that explain how health disparities affect communities each of these areas and what to do about it.

Talance’s courses attract some of the most motivated and dedicated minds who want to change the populations they serve. By training them in health topics and giving them the chance to collaborate together in a learning space, we can mobilize these change-makers into improving health education and taking action.

We have big plans for creating even more courses that educate on basic health topics and how they related to health disparities and social determinants of health. Meanwhile, here are seven lessons about disparities that Talance focuses on in its course High Blood Pressure (Hypertension). Feel free to take these lessons and apply them to your communities.

1.      High blood pressure is more prevalent among certain groups. 

If your community serves older adults, non-Hispanic blacks, low-income or low-education individuals, then your community probably has a hypertension problem.

The key is health education. Make sure these people understand they are more likely to have high blood pressure. Then, tell them what they can do to check for it and control it if necessary.

2.      Hypertension goes with unhealthy lifestyles, especially in the South and Midwest.

Rates of hypertension are closely related to trends of inactivity, obesity, sodium intake, smoking and alcohol use. If you work in an area where these factors are high, such as the South or Midwest (see the map below), the people you work with are more at risk of developing hypertension.

The key is healthy living. Encourage your population to move more, eat better, put down the cigarettes and limit alcohol, and they may just avoid hypertension.

3.      People who don’t think they can control hypertension actually can if they understand it.

One of the biggest barriers between someone having uncontrolled hypertension and gaining control of it is knowledge. People need to know what hypertension is in plain language, not with jargon and medical terms. Find--or create--simple materials that explain how to understand and control the condition, and that will go a long way to bridging gaps in self-care and treatment.

4.      Dangerous neighborhoods discourage treatment.

Some communities lack the health care facilities and pharmacies that make it easier to treat hypertension. Or, if walking to the corner drug store for medication is dangerous, many people won’t make the trip.

Lesson: make it easier. Make a list of places where people can have their blood pressure tested and hand it out. Pressure community leaders to make areas safer and fix sidewalks. Kickstart programs that can make deliveries or provide car rides.

5.      Motivate for change.

Hypertension is undoubtedly a scary diagnosis, and one that can kill. That can spark fatalistic attitudes or make someone ignore their condition. Make sure people know that hypertension really is controllable and possibly avoidable. With the right diet and exercise plan, or medication, it’s possible to lead a happy normal life. Providing the motivation to change should be at the basis of every effort, because it can really work.

Want to learn more about how to bring our course High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) to your team? 

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