PLoS ONE | 2021
Examining elevated blood pressure and the effects of diabetes self-management education on blood pressure among a sample of Marshallese with type 2 diabetes in Arkansas
Introduction Hypertension is a leading risk factor for heart attack and stroke. Undiagnosed hypertension increases the risk of heart attack and stroke. The risk of hypertension is increased for those with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Diabetes self-management education (DSME) has been shown to be effective at improving clinical outcomes, including reducing blood pressure, but few studies have evaluated the effects of DSME for Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders. Methods This study examined the baseline prevalence of diagnosed hypertension and undiagnosed high blood pressure and differences in health care access between those with diagnosed hypertension versus undiagnosed high blood pressure. The sample consisted of 221 Marshallese adults with T2DM participating in a DSME randomized controlled trial in northwest Arkansas. The study also examined the effects of DSME interventions on participants’ blood pressure, comparing an Adapted-Family DSME with a Standard DSME. Results Nearly two-thirds of participants had blood pressure readings indicative of hypertension, and of those, over one-third were previously undiagnosed. The frequency of doctor visits was significantly lower for those with undiagnosed high blood pressure. There were no differences in health insurance coverage or forgone medical care between those with undiagnosed high blood pressure versus diagnosed hypertension. Across all participants, a significant reduction in systolic blood pressure occurred between baseline and post intervention, and a significant reduction in diastolic blood pressure occurred between baseline and post-intervention, 6 months, and 12 months post-intervention. No differences were observed by study arm. Conclusion This study is the first to document the prevalence of diagnosed hypertension and undiagnosed high blood pressure, as well as the effects of DSME on blood pressure among a sample of Marshallese adults with T2DM.