Objective: To determine levels and correlates of hypertension knowledge.
Design: Cross-sectional telephone survey.
Setting: Urban, public hospital clinic.
Participants: 296 adults with hypertension.
Main outcome measure: Hypertension knowledge was assessed through a 10-item test; respondents received one point for each correct answer.
Results: Eighty-nine percent of respondents were Black, 79% were female, 75% had a monthly income < $1000, and 62% had completed high school. Items with the lowest percentage of correct responses included knowing that hypertension does not cause cancer (41.9% correct), a blood pressure of 130/80 mm Hg is normal (59.8% correct), hypertension lasts a lifetime (60.5% correct), and renal failure is a complication of hypertension (76.4% correct). Overall, 39% answered 9 or 10 questions correctly. Low hypertension knowledge (< or = 7 questions correct) was associated with age > or = 60 years, having less than a high school education, and reporting a first hypertension diagnosis within 9 years before being surveyed.
Conclusions: Hypertension knowledge deficits in specific content areas and among certain subgroups were present in this urban population. Educational programs focusing on newly diagnosed hypertensive patients and aimed at filling targeted knowledge deficits may be a cost-effective approach to increase hypertension knowledge in similar populations.