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Some Docs Are Failing to Counsel Young Adults With Hypertension

Too few physicians urge lifestyle changes, researchers say

Some Docs Are Failing to Counsel Young Adults With Hypertension

MONDAY, Nov. 10, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Only about one in two young American adults with hypertension receive advice from a doctor on lifestyle changes, according to a study published online Nov. 6 in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

For the study, the investigators looked at lifestyle counseling rates among 500 young adults with hypertension being treated at a large Midwestern academic practice.

The researchers found that only 55 percent of the patients received lifestyle education within one year of being diagnosed with hypertension. The most common topic was exercise, followed by advice on quitting smoking. Only 25 percent were counseled on how to lower their blood pressure by changing their diet.

Those most likely to receive lifestyle counseling included women, patients who made regular visits to the doctor to manage long-term health problems, those previously diagnosed with hyperlipidemia, and people with a family history of hypertension or heart disease. The findings show that doctors are missing far too many "teachable moments" to advise young adults with hypertension about lifestyle changes, study author Heather Johnson, M.D., of the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in Madison, said in a journal news release.

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