Introduction: Tight blood pressure (BP) control is the single most important intervention to prevent cardiovascular mortality among patients with diabetes mellitus (DM). However, little is known about how many patients have specific target BP levels or the factors associated with patients' knowledge of these targets.
Objectives: (1) To determine what proportion of patients with diabetes have BP targets; (2) To determine patient characteristics associated with having a BP target.
Methods: Cross-sectional, anonymous survey of 500 randomly selected outpatients with hypertension and DM receiving care in any Veterans Health Administration outpatient clinic in 2003. We examined multivariate associations between patient characteristics and having targets for BP. Covariates included age, race, gender, and education level; and factors specific to diabetes and BP treatment, including medication use, diabetes duration, and number of visits to diabetes healthcare providers in the previous year.
Results: Three hundred and seventy-eight (80%) patients responded. Although most (91%) had blood glucose targets, fewer than 60% reported having a BP target. In multivariate analyses, college education was associated with having a BP target (AOR 1.97 [95% CI: 1.16-3.34]).
Conclusions: Less than two-thirds of diabetic, hypertensive patients had BP targets. Encouraging patients to set target BPs may promote hypertension self-management in this high-risk patient population. Less educated patients may especially benefit from interventions to increase awareness of BP targets.