People Residing in Urban Areas Show Lower Adherence to Their Blood Pressure Meds

By Lou Portero - Last Updated: November 29, 2022

People who reside in large urban areas may be less likely to take their blood pressure medication as prescribed and less likely to have a primary care provider than those living in smaller rural communities, according to new research presented at the American Heart Association’s Hypertension Scientific Sessions in San Diego.

Samantha Schoenl, a fourth-year medical student at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta, and colleagues carried out a cross-sectional study of over eleven thousand persons, representing over seventy-one million adults in the US, with a diagnosis of high blood pressure. The data was obtained from the 2020 National Health Interview Survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

The study found that urban areas are associated with lower blood pressure medication adherence rates and higher adherence in smaller communities. According to the researchers, nearly seventy-six percent of people in large urban populations took their blood pressure medications. However, adherence became higher as population density decreased. In large, fringe urban and medium areas, nearly eighty-two percent of the people took their blood pressure medication. The percentage is higher for people in smaller, non-metro areas where eighty-three percent of people were adherent.  

“You might think people living in very rural areas because they have less access to care and a lack of public transportation would have lower adherence rates,” said lead researcher Samantha Schoenl. “And in urban environments, you’d think having more transportation options would help, but that’s not what the data showed.”

Furthermore, the study revealed that there were regional differences in adherence. According to the findings, people in the northeast were most likely to take the medication prescribed, with approximately 83% being adherent. This figure was slightly lower in the south and midwest, with about eighty-one percent and seventy-nine percent of people adhering to their medications. The West had the lowest medication adherence rate, at about 77%.

The study also revealed a link between medication adherence and access to primary care. Contrary to expectations, the findings suggested that those with less access to health care were more likely to stop taking their prescribed medications. Schoenl also mentioned that income and the tendency of people living in urban areas to move more than those living in rural areas might affect access to care.


Source: American Heart Association News

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