Mexican Americans' awareness, knowledge, and beliefs of hypertension
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the number one cause of death for people in Texas as well as Mexico. The progressive morbidity and mortality of CVD can be prevented initially and controlled through regular health screenings or visits to the physician where health markers such as hypertension can be detected and treated. Yet, many people go unaware of existing hypertension not only due to lack of access to health care but to their own personal beliefs, ideas, or perceived barriers that prevent them from seeking preventative health care.
The main purpose of this study was to evaluate whether individuals of Mexican origin, who have some form of medical coverage, posses more knowledge, more perceived severity, less perceived barriers, and greater self-efficacy in regards to hypertension than those individuals who have no medical coverage. This was done by addressing the following specific aims: 1.To evaluate the association between individuals who have health care coverage and those who do not have health care coverage in regards to their beliefs of hypertension; 2. To evaluate if there exists a variation among the respondents demographic data and their beliefs of hypertension.
The total number of respondents were 150; with 75 being from Cuidad Juarez, and 75 being from El Paso, Texas. The results indicated that the individuals with some form of medical coverage perceived themselves to be more susceptible to suffering a cardiac event or developing heart disease than those who had no form of medical coverage. The individuals with some form of health care coverage also found themselves having less perceived barriers than those who had no health care coverage. The level of education seemed to have some association with individuals perceiving themselves as being susceptible to experiencing a cardiac event if they do not control their hypertension. Regarding self-efficacy, or the self-reported confidence in performing certain behaviors to controlling hypertension, those individuals who perceived themselves as having no self-efficacy had a lower level of education, compared to those who did perceive themselves as possessing self-efficacy. The findings of this study indicate that beliefs regarding hypertension and medical coverage are variables that need to be investigated further for individuals in the El Paso and Cuidad Juarez region.