Scenario: GP Clinic; patient previously diagnosed with hypertension.
Again, this doesn't refer to one isolated case, but is a description of a commonly encountered situation involving hypertensive patients. Oftentimes, the patient comes in, not with the intention for follow-up of high blood pressure, but for another complaint, eg URTI, GE etc.
Me (after handling the presenting complaint): "By the way, I notice that you are on Drug XYZ for high blood pressure. Let's check your blood pressure & see how well controlled it is."
Patient:"I stopped taking the medicine already."
At this point, there are two possible answers which illustrate misconceptions that patients have regarding the condition of hypertension:
a) Patient:"I finished the whole course already, so I thought I am cured."
b) Patient:"My friends told me that I shouldn't keep taking the medicine otherwise I will never be able to stop." (For some reason, some patients think that anti-hypertensives have some kind of addictive effect on their bodies).
I have lost count of the number of times where I have had to explain the chronicity of hypertension & the need for close follow-up & medication to keep BP under control. Yes, I have even resorted to expounding scary complications of uncontrolled hypertension like stroke, heart problems, kidney failure etc. to get the point across.
I don't know if this ignorance is a local phenomenon, or whether my overseas colleagues also encounter the same misconceptions.