Even though some medications have the potential to slow the progress of atherosclerosis and development of CVD, there are many at-risk individuals who continue to resist the benefits that are available by not following the advice of medical professionals. Non-adherence to prescribed drug regimens is a pervasive medical problem that negatively affects treatment outcomes. Information from standardized interviews of 5301 African Americans participating in the Jackson Heart Study was examined to determine the association between demographic parameters, behavior including adherence to prescribed medical regimens, and health outcomes. Data were also collected at Annual Follow-Up and Surveillance visits. During the two weeks prior to the examination visit, almost 52% of the participants reported taking blood pressure medication, 14% took cholesterol medication, 16% took medication for diabetes, and 19% took blood thinning medication. Of those who did not take the prescribed medications, the reasons given were the following: 47% were in a hurry, too busy, or forgot to take medications; 23% were trying to do without medications; 18% had no money to purchase medications; 19% indicated that the medications made them feel bad; 17% felt that they could not carry out daily functions when taking medications. The African American population can benefit from heightened awareness of the risk factors that are associated with CVD and the benefits of following a prescribed treatment regimen. Unacceptable secondary effects of prescribed medication comprised an important cause of non-compliance. Encouragement of this population to communicate with their healthcare providers to ensure that medication regimens are better tolerated could increase compliance and improve health outcomes.
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