Background Hypertension and depression are the leading cause of death and disability in the United States. Although the causal relationship between depression and hypertension has not been definitively supported, increasing evidence has shown depression to be widely prevalent among hypertensive patients. Different theories have been suggested to explain the relationship between depression and hypertension, which include poor compliance with medications and unhealthy behavioral choices. However, there is a lack of studies done on ethnic minorities. Depression often complicates blood pressure control and uncontrolled hypertension can lead to complications; thus, it is of clinical significance to study the effect of depression on the management of hypertension.
Objective This project studies whether treatment for depression will improve blood pressure control in an underserved Latino population receiving medical care at Mid Valley Comprehensive Health Center (MVCHC) from December 2005 to August 2006.
Methods This is a retrospective study using chart review. Thirty hypertensive adults who are being treated for depression from December 2005 to August 2006 were randomly selected from the Family Medicine Clinic at MVCHC. Two blood pressure measurements were taken 4 to 16 weeks apart to determine the effect of depression treatment on hypertension.
Results There was no statistically significant difference in blood pressure after treatment for depression. However, the results show a marginally significant increase in the percentages of patients who achieved a blood pressure of < 140/90 mm Hg (p = .0578).
Conclusion Untreated hypertension could lead to a number of serious complications, including myocardial infarction, peripheral vascular disease, renal failure, and stroke. Our study shows a marginally significant association between hypertension control and depression. Thus, treatment for depression may help with blood pressure control and therefore help prevent negative sequelae of hypertension. However, any significance observed in our study is limited by the small sample size and short duration. However, this is only a pilot study, and we think further investigation is needed to better understand the relationship between depression and hypertension.
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