Purpose: To explore the perceptions of disease state management among Pakistani hypertensive patients.
Methods: A focus group discussion was conducted with 19 hypertensive patients in order to obtain an insight into their self-management practices. The study was conducted in Sandeman Provincial Hospital, Quetta, Pakistan.
Results: Analysis of the focus group discussion yielded four major themes: (1) effect of hypertension on patients’ physical, mental and social states; (2) involvement in self-management; (3) factors contributing to self-management; and (4) perception of patients towards antihypertensive agents. A majority of the patients admitted that they were involved in self-management of hypertension but their management strategies were influenced by social sources - peer or family - with very little information received from health care professionals. Exercise of self-management was strongly linked to the philosophy of the patients regarding nature of drug, as well as comparative advantages and disadvantages. Patients also expressed reservations about continuous drug usage for the management of chronic illnesses.
Conclusion:Patients suffering from chronic diseases such as hypertension tend to make individual and personal decisions about managing their illnesses. Patients seem to be more influenced by peers, family members and people with the disease condition, and thus try to manage their condition based on advice received from them. In addition, their philosophy of medication use and hypertension (being a chronic disease) prompts them to focus more on self-management practices.