Researchers wanted to find out how people weigh the benefits of high blood pressure treatment options against its inconvenience. They asked survey respondents to imagine that they had high blood pressure and then asked about their willingness to adopt any of four "treatments" to gain an extra month, year or five years of life.
In this survey, the "treatments" proposed were: a daily cup of tea, exercise, pills or monthly or semi-annual injections. Results showed that taking a pill or drinking a daily cup of tea was the preferred treatments, though some were unwilling to adopt any intervention even if it meant gaining an additional year or five years of life.
For each treatment, participants were more likely to say they would adopt it if the benefit were greater:
* 79 percent of respondents said they would be willing to take a pill for an extra month of life, 90 percent would for an extra year of life and 96 percent would for an extra five years of life;
* 78 percent said they would drink a daily cup of tea for one extra month of life, 91 percent would for one extra year of life and 96 percent would drink it for an extra five years of life;
* 63 percent would be willing to exercise for an extra month of life, 84 percent would for an extra year of life and 93 percent would exercise if it meant an extra five years of life;
* A shot was the least preferred of the options - 68 percent would take a shot every six months if it would give them an extra month of life, 85 percent would do it for an extra year of life and 93 percent would be willing if it gave them another five years, but only about half (51 percent) would take a monthly shot for an extra month of life, 74 percent would for an extra year and 88 percent would opt for an injection every month if it gave them five extra years of life.
In addition, at least 20 percent of respondents wanted to achieve gains in life expectancy beyond what any of the individual interventions could provide. "Our findings demonstrate that people naturally assign different weights to the pluses and minuses of interventions to improve cardiovascular health," said Erica Spatz, the study lead author and an assistant professor at Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, CT.
The preliminary research was presented at the American Heart Association's Quality of Care and Outcomes Research Scientific Sessions 2018.