HYPERTENSION-BEHAVIOR MEDICAL APPROACH
Behavioral medicine is an integration of empirical knowledge from interdisciplinary research. It encompasses a recognition of the reciprocal nature of relationships between human biology, psychology, and sociology. Many behavioral factors are related to hypertension. Hypertension is often referred to as the silent killer; many are unaware that they have it, and persistent high blood pressure, not brought under control, is a risk for cardiovascular disease. Personality type, sociocultural mobility and membership, situational stress, somatic strain, health maintenance, coping styles and levels and modes of emotional release of anger, are all behavioral medical aspects to consider in the study of causes of hypertension. Initial blood pressure levels are considered the strongest predictor of future hypertension, however, many other factors are predictors as well. Family history, resting blood pressure, resting heart rate, body weight, and hemodynamic response to physiological and psychological stimuli are also considered. Nonpharmacologic management is the first-line treatment for mild hypertension; lifestyle interventions may then need to be combined with drug therapies (Cottrell, 1995; Eaton, McQuade, & Glupczynski, 1994; Gentry, 1984; Lenfant & Savage, 1995; O'Connor, Manson, O'Connor, & Burine, 1995).
Edwards (1995) reports that scientists anticipate the causes of hypertension to involve a primary genetic or lifestyle trait, with other genes and habits as supporting roles. The first gene found to be associated with hypertension, is the insulin receptor gene on chromosome 19. It is predicted that blood tests will eventually be developed to identify people with normal blood pressure who have an increased risk of hypertension in later life.
Causes and prevention of hypertension include many lifestyle, social, and environmental factors. Weight control is a major primary cause an...