Table 4

Thematic Analysis of Qualitative Data

Behavioral changes
Healthier options“I am increasingly controlling the type of food I eat during the day.”
Less salt“Reduce salt intake because one day I ate a small pack of pretzels inthe evening. My BP at the usual monitoring time (which was ~1.5hour of eating the pretzel) was noticeably higher than other days.So I am consciously trying to reduce the amount of salt especiallyfrom processed foods.”
Physical activity“I am getting more regular exercise.”“Increased frequency and intensity of exercise”
Practice relaxation“I love to meditate and I found that it had a direct effect on my BP - or seemed to.”“Yoga 3 or 4 times a week”
Patients’ awareness of BP control status
Realized BP truly uncontrolled“I thought it was better controlled, but realized it was not.”“As a result of the study findings my doctor has added a medication to better control my BP.”
Reassured BP controlled“I found out that I do NOT have high blood pressure. When I’m in the clinic it is sky high. When I am at home, it is normal. I’d like to get off my medicine then test it at home to see if I need to stay on the low dose or not.”
Recommendations for clinic
Arm support while measuring BP at clinic“Second, and relatively easily achievable, providing something for the tested arm to rest on at a correct height while the reading is being taken.”
BP measurement at the end of the visit“Don’t take blood pressure reading immediately upon entering the exam room! There is talking, moving around, no chance to sit quietly, and anxiety about the visit. Wait for physician consult to conclude, allow patient 10 minutes to sit quietly, then take the reading. Alternatively, put patient in room for 10 minutes with instructions before taking blood pressure.”
Use average of multiple reading for diagnosis“My blood pressure fluctuates within minutes. I do not think you can assess what someone’s average blood pressure reading is by one or two readings. My blood pressure was 109/66 this morning. Just 6 months ago a cardiologist put me on high blood pressure medicine (which made me very sick) because my readings were high in the office. I think doctors need to study their patients’ general health in more detail before issuing these strong medicines.”
  • BP = blood pressure.