Results 59 papers reporting on 53 qualitative studies were included in the synthesis. These studies came from 16 countries (United States, United Kingdom, Brazil, Sweden, Canada, New Zealand, Denmark, Finland, Ghana, Iran, Israel, Netherlands, South Korea, Spain, Tanzania, and Thailand). A large proportion of participants thought hypertension was principally caused by stress and produced symptoms, particularly headache, dizziness, and sweating. Participants widely intentionally reduced or stopped treatment without consulting their doctor. Participants commonly perceived that their blood pressure improved when symptoms abated or when they were not stressed, and that treatment was not needed at these times. Participants disliked treatment and its side effects and feared addiction. These findings were consistent across countries and ethnic groups. Participants also reported various external factors that prevented adherence, including being unable to find time to take the drugs or to see the doctor; having insufficient money to pay for treatment; the cost of appointments and healthy food; a lack of health insurance; and forgetfulness.
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