Irma Alvarado

Irma Alvarado

University of Texas Medical Branch, USA

Title: Hypertension health beliefs among lower- socio economic Hispanic individuals


Irma Alvarado is working as an Assistant Professor in the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. She has facilitated certifications for Medical Homes within the Ambulatory Care Arena. She has also facilitated projects related to Case management and Utilization review. Her research includes development of structured data plans to monitor quality metrics and large databases.



Preventing the burden of cardiovascular disease among all persons is important, and hypertension is considered a predictor of cardiovascular risk. It is well known that lifestyle changes can help reduce the progression to hypertension. Unfortunately, lifestyle changes and control of hypertension continues to be low, particularly among Hispanics. When Egan and colleagues evaluated Healthy People 2020 Goals [1], they found that blood pressure control among Hispanics continues to lag as compared to White Non- Hispanic persons. This is significant, because this population is expected to continue to grow. Persons of Mexican decent now account for 64% of the US Hispanic population and hypertension disproportionately affects this population. One reason may be that twenty three percent of Hispanics live below the poverty line, and 30% have no insurance [2]. The study will focus on the lower socio-economic Hispanic person. This Hispanic is more likely to delay care, avoid visits, and drop out of treatment programs as soon as symptoms disappear [3]. Hypertension beliefs and attitudes should be assessed among this group of people. The purpose of this study is to explore and describe the attitudes and beliefs among low socio-economic Hispanics individuals. In this descriptive qualitative study, open ended exploratory interviews will be conducted in two ambulatory clinics (N=10 people per clinic). The themes that are generated will be examined. The study will take place in two ambulatory clinics specifically designed to assist and provide health care to the most vulnerable people in southeast Texas. Results from the interviews demonstrated that among this group of individuals dual attitudes and beliefs exist. People have folk illness models of hypertension as well as bio medical illness models of hypertension. It is important for nursing to address the dominant folk illness model if therapeutic lifestyle changes are being recommended.