One of the most widely discussed problems in the field of hypertension is the treatment of mild hypertension: 90-104 mmHg diastolic BP. Organizations like the WHO recommend caution with respect to drug therapy. To investigate the actual treatment of hypertension by primary health care services, a standardised questionnaire, based on the study protocol of the WHO-coordinated HYRAP project, was sent to all private practitioners, internists and gynaecologists in private practice in Stuttgart in 1986 (n = 480). The response rate among the general practitioners and internists was 68%. The data indicate that a major part of the physicians favour treatment by health counselling. In contrast, the vast majority (89%) of the physicians report treating mild hypertension exclusively by drug therapy. This wide use of drug therapy may be due to the influence of certain reference groups and the health care system itself. The results support recommendations that special attention be given to the training of physicians in health counselling.
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