Hypertension success stories boost BP control | TheHeart.org

The first randomized controlled trial to examine the effect of a culturally appropriate storytelling intervention on control of blood pressure has shown some success, with those who were uncontrolled at baseline improving systolic BP by 11 mm Hg over the course of the study, published in the January 18, 2011 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine [1].

Dr Thomas K Houston (University of Massachusetts, Worcester) and colleagues created DVDs of real African American patients from a low-income, inner-city setting telling their own stories of how they battled hypertension [2]. They showed these to half of the people in their study, while the remainder saw a “control” DVD that covered health topics not related to hypertension. The BP reductions seen, particularly in those with uncontrolled hypertension at baseline, are “similar” to those achieved with pharmaceutical interventions and dietary approaches, say Houston et al.

“I do think that storytelling is innately human. It’s a way we make meaning out of the world and understand our lives,” Houston told heartwire. “So it does apply across the board, it has value for everyone, although there is evidence that the benefit is greater for those of lower literacy.” I do think that storytelling is innately human. It’s a [...] continue the story