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Blood Press. 2018 Aug;27(4):194-199. doi: 10.1080/08037051.2018.1430503. Epub 2018 Jan 24.

Health-related knowledge on hypertension among the Portuguese population: results from a population-based survey.

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a EPIUnit - Instituto de Saúde Pública , Universidade do Porto , Porto , Portugal.
b Departamento de Ciências da Saúde Pública e Forenses e Educação Médica , Faculdade de Medicina, Universidade do Porto , Portugal.
c Institute of Social Sciences , University of Lisbon , Lisbon , Portugal.



Adequate knowledge on hypertension has been shown to improve awareness, adherence to treatment and control of the disease. We aimed to estimate the health-related knowledge about hypertension among the Portuguese population.


A representative sample of Portuguese-speaking dwellers in mainland Portugal (n = 1624), aged 16 to 79 years, was evaluated through face-to-face interviews conducted using a structured questionnaire. Health literacy was evaluated using the instrument Newest Vital Sign.


The mean prevalence of hypertension in the Portuguese population estimated by the participants in this study was 45.4%. Salt intake and poor diet were reported as main causes of hypertension by 27.5% and 21.5% of the participants, respectively, whereas more than 85% acknowledged myocardial infarction and stroke as its main consequences. However, 31.2% of the participants were not able to identify a cause for high blood pressure, especially the older and those with worse scores for health literacy. The accurate interpretation of blood pressure values diminished with the increase of systolic and diastolic blood pressure figures provided as examples for interpretation, from approximately 80% for 95/60 mmHg to 50% for 180/100 mmHg. Women and participants with greater levels of education or a previous diagnosis of hypertension tended to interpret blood pressure values correctly more often.


This study provided a quantitative estimate of the gaps in health-related knowledge about hypertension among the general population. Understanding the barriers that hinder the achievement of health-related knowledge on hypertension is expected to contribute for the global improvement of prevention and management of hypertension.


Health knowledge; health information management; health literacy; hypertension; primary prevention

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