There are numerous silent killers when talking about diseases. Hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and maybe even throw in diabetes in some situations although often subtle symptoms do exist. Many of these diseases don’t show symptoms until really bad things happen.
Patients don’t tend to believe or at least have a tendency to turn a blind eye to silent killers which is what makes medication adherence so challenging. Why take a medication that may make me feel worse when I don’t “feel” a benefit? It’s a common question that we must remember when counseling patients.
Fear is a motivator and while I don’t advocate living your life in fear, we must have a healthy respect for silent killers. We must convey that message to our patients who are at risk as well and let them know the ramifications of untreated hypertension. Patients with a deep understanding of the consequences will be a lot more likely to adhere to medication therapy and have a desire to do something about it.
This education needs to happen on a routine basis, not only on the initial diagnosis or the start of a new medication.
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