The aim of this study was to estimate the prevalence and incidence of hypertension in women, and describe their self-care and health-seeking behaviours. This research was conducted as part of the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health, a study comprising a nationally representative sample of Australian women in three age groups. The focus of this research is 14 099 women born in 1946-1951, who have been surveyed six times (1996-2010). Student t-tests were used to compare women who did or did not have hypertension by their health-care utilization. Longitudinal analyses were conducted using a Poisson generalized estimating equation model. The incidence of hypertension among this cohort during 1996 to 2010 ranged from 400 to 597 participants per survey, resulting in an increase in prevalence of hypertension from 20.9% in 1996 to 41.3% in 2010. For all survey periods, women with hypertension had a significantly higher average number of visits to doctors and allied health practitioners compared with women without hypertension (P<0.005). The use of complementary medicine (practitioners and self-prescribed treatments) by women with hypertension was significantly lower compared to women without hypertension (P<0.005). Over time, conventional health-care utilization was higher for women with hypertension compared with women without hypertension (adjusted RR=1.18; 95% CI: 1.14, 1.22; P<0.0001). Our findings show that women with hypertension are using a range of conventional and complementary and alternative medicine: with hypertensive women using more conventional medicine and less complementary and alternative medicine than non-hypertensive women. As such, health-care providers should communicate with their patients regarding their use of complementary and alternative medicine in their efforts to provide safe, effective and coordinate care.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Internal Medicine