Hypertension "In the United States 71 Thesis

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"in the United States

71% of adults with hypertension don't have their blood pressure under control"

(Medications for…, 2007 Fast fact section).


Ethnicity and Age

"My mother died from a stroke 18 months ago. She was 64," Juan Valdez, a 47-year-old Puerto Rican native, who has lived in the South Bronx of New York City, for the past 22 years, told the attending physician, Dr., Peters. This day, he said, he was feeling dizzy and experiencing a headache that would not go away. Juan and his family had moved to the United States from Isabela, Puerto Rico 20 years earlier. Isabela, "known as 'El Jardin del Noroeste' (garden of the northwest) and 'El Pueblo de los Quesitos de Hoja'" (Isabela, 2009, p. 1). The hardest thing for Juan to get used to, he told the doctor was the frigid temperature in New York during the balmy winters. "The average temperature in Isabela is 84 degrees year round," he said. Five years ago, Juan, an only child lost his father, a heavy smoker, who at the age of 62, died shortly after experiencing a massive heart attack.Get full Download Microsoft Word File access
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Thesis on Hypertension "In the United States 71% of Assignment

Due to financial constraints and a distrust of doctors, neither of Juan's parents had gone for regular health care screenings. Juan admitted that he also had a lingering distrust of doctors. Juan's wife, Celia, a lifelong resident of New York, told the doctor that she was concerned for Juan's health because of his family history. Juan had finally agreed to go with Celia to their family doctor, Dr. Peters, for his first check-up in over 12 years. After the examination, Dr. Peters presented her diagnosis to Juan: Hypertension, or high blood pressure (BP). Usually, Dr. Peters would not make this diagnosis until after measuring a patient's blood pressure on at least three separate occasions. Juan's three extreme blood pressure measurements during the hour he was at Dr. Peter's office convinced Dr. Peter's that Juan's need for medication was immediate. Toni Rizzo, Teresa G. Odle and Angela M. Costello (2006), all of the Cleveland Clinic Heart Center, contend in the journal publication, "Hypertension," that hypertension is high blood pressure. "Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of arteries. Arteries are the blood vessels that carry oxygenated blood from the heart to the body's tissues" (Rizzo, Odle & Costello, 2006, ¶ 1). Along with prescribing medication to decrease Juan's blood pressure, Dr. Peters gave Juan a list of lifestyle tips; identified later during this paper. .

In the journal publication, "Hypertension: Just the facts," Kathy Sharp (2006), an oncology nurse practitioner at Blue Ridge Medical Specialists in Bristol, Tennessee, points out that the National Institutes of Health defines the various stages of blood pressure for individuals aged 18 years old and older. Figure 1 lists the normal blood pressure range, along with the next two stages and including the most dangerous stage of hypertension.

Figure 1: NIH Definitions of Hypertension (adapted from Sharp, 2006, ¶ 2).

Socioeconomic Status

Juan and Celia have owned and solely operated a successful hot dog stand in the Bronx for 12 years. Juan previously worked long hours as a city cab driver to save enough money to establish the family business. Due to limited finances, he and Celia purchased the least expensive medical insurance policy they could find. The policy with high deductibles and co-pays for all medical visits and procedures contributed to Juan not having regular checkups. Juan and his family have rented and lived in the same modest three-bedroom apartment for more than 16 years. Juan, a heavy smoker, occasionally drinks beer. He admits to being a perfectionist who works hard and frequently becomes stressed. He earns approximately $42,000.00 a year.

Culture and Food

Juan, approximately 20 pounds overweight, is a devout Catholic. One "sin" he admits to is that he often eats more than he knows he should. He jokes and claims that he is sometimes his own best customer at the family hot dog stand. Celia, a Caucasian, regularly prepares Juan's favorite Puerto Rican meals, particularly Fied Chapin (Trunkfish), a fish high in fat. Juan and his family also frequently eat black beans and tortillas, usually with mounds of cheese, typical Hispanic foods. Juan typically eats 3-4 of "Juan's dogs" six days a week.

Family History

Juan's paternal grandfather, also died of a heart attack at the age of 49. In Puerto Rico, regular health care visits and screenings were not readily available for Juan's family. The lack of health care information on Juan's family makes it difficult for Dr. Peters to assess whether or not hypertension was prevalent in Juan's family. Consequently, Dr. Peters had to make that assessment from the information Juan provides. This information includes factors such as: The age of death for family members and their health habits, including smoking and stress, factors that definitely constitute risk factors for hypertension.

Gender Roles and Religion

As devout Catholics, Juan and his family attend mass on Sunday. Like most Hispanics, the man, considered the head of the household, solely manages the finances. He also makes all relevant business decisions for the family hot dog stand business. Juan claims that he typically manages his stress well, but then also admits that occasionally when things do not go his way, he loses his temper.

Beliefs about Medicine/Nursing

Growing up in Puerto Rico, Juan, as his mother and father, did not have regular access to health care or doctor visits. In turn, he developed a distrust of most doctors and nurses. He states that he has never taken medication on a daily basis. Dr. Cunegundo Vergara, Director of Ambulatory Education and Assistant Clinical Director, Department of Medicine, Hartford Hospital, Fei Wang, Assistant Clinical Professor, University of Connecticut College of Pharmacy and Valori Banfi (2008), Clinical Librarian, Health Science Library, Conklin Building, Hartford Hospital, note that Puerto Ricans comprise the second largest Hispanic group in the United States with 75% of Puerto Ricans living in three states: Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York. In the journal publication, "Hypertension in Puerto Ricans in the Continental United States," Vergara, Wang and Banfi assert that as published data is limited about certain medical conditions including prevalent diseases like hypertension in the Hispanic community, little data exists for individuals such as Juan. This study did find, albeit: "The prevalence of hypertension for Puerto Ricans, as well as for the other Hispanic sub-groups, increased with older age. Men had higher age-adjusted prevalence for hypertension than women" (Vergara, Wang and Banfi, the HANES survey section, ¶ 1). .

When Dr. Peters relates this information to Juan, he agrees to follow through with the recommended testing to control his hypertension.

Disease Process/Alterable Risk Factors

According to Rizzo, Odle and Costello (2006), the more pressure the blood exerts on the artery walls as it pushes through the artery, the higher the measure of the individual's blood pressure. "The size of arteries also affects the blood pressure. When the muscular walls of arteries are relaxed, or dilated, the pressure of the blood flowing through them is lower than when the artery walls narrow, or constricted" (Rizzo, Odle & Costello, 2006, ¶ 2). At the time the heart beats to push blood out into the arteries, the blood pressure is at its highest.

When the individual's heart relaxes to fill with blood again, the pressure is then at its lowest point. "Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). For example, if a person's systolic pressure is 120 and diastolic pressure is 80, it is written as 120/80 mm Hg" (Rizzo, Odle & Costello, 2006, ¶ 3). When the heart beats, blood pressure is known as systolic pressure. When the heart is at rest, blood pressure is identified as diastolic pressure. During the measurement of blood pressure is measured, the systolic pressure is initially noted; the diastolic pressure is noted at the end.

As Juan is unable to provide his family's medical records and can only give verbal information, as mentioned previously, Dr. Peters will only be able to assume that hypertension is a family risk factor; solely by the reported ages and cause of deaths for family members. According to Rizzo, Odle and Costello (2006), various actions or situations may normally raise blood pressure. Stressful situations as well as physical activity and changes in position may temporarily make blood pressure go up. When the stress decreases or dissipates, however, the person's blood pressure typically returns to normal. Particular medications may also contribute to changes in blood pressure. In these instances, blood pressure also returns to normal when the person discontinues the drug. Temporary increases in blood pressure such as these do not constitute hypertension. High blood pressure, or hypertension, according to Matthew R. Weir (2005) in the book, Hypertension, "is one of the most ubiquitous yet nettlesome medical problems that physicians and health care providers face in the office. It is an asymptomatic disease, which is frequently rendered symptomatic with lifestyle modifications and medica-tions" (p. xi). A physician diagnoses… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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