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Background: Hypertension is the most common risk factor of premature deaths due to cardiovascular diseases worldwide. Currently, there is no available information of illness perception in Nepalese patients with hypertension and involved variables and their relationships with lifestyle behavior on controlling high blood pressure which is the starting point of this study.
Objective: To describe illness perception, social support, and lifestyle behaviors and to examine the relationships of lifestyle behaviors with involved variables among Nepalese patients with hypertension.
Methods: Two hundred thirteen patients with hypertension (purposive sampling) were recruited from the cardiac out-patient department (OPD) of Dhulikhel Hospital Kathmandu University Hospital, Nepal. Questionnaires composed of demographic information, Brief Illness Perception Questionnaire, Social Support Scale, and Lifestyle Behavior Scale were used. Descriptive statistics, Pearson correlation coefficient, and independent t test were used for data analysis.
Results: Participants perceived hypertension as benign condition which did not have serious consequences, symptoms, and emotional effects in their lives. They had very good social support for managing their hypertension in addition to having good lifestyle behavior. Lifestyle behavior had positive relationships with social support (r = 0.320; P < 0.001) and waist circumference (r = 0.152; P < 0.05) but had inverse relationships with age (r = -0.140; P < 0.05) and illness perception (r = -0.137; P < 0.05). There were no relationships between duration of treatment of illness and body mass index with lifestyle behavior. There were no significant differences of lifestyle behaviour based on level of education and family history of illness.
Conclusions: As patients with appropriate illness perception and adequate social support have exhibited satisfactory lifestyle behaviors, nurses can assess and utilize these factors in engaging patients with hypertension to perform better health behaviors for controlling their blood pressure.
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