Sci-tech

Barbershop Intervention Reduced Blood Pressure in Hypertensive Black Men

Barbershop Intervention Reduced Blood Pressure in Hypertensive Black Men”

The study followed 319 black men that patronized the barbershops who had a systolic blood pressure - the pressure of blood flow when the heart pumps - of 140 mm Hg (millimeter of mercury) or more, a clinically high and risky level.

Dr. Ronald Victor, a cardiologist at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center who led the study, said barbershops are the ideal place to reach Black men for health screenings, according to the Associated Press.

As per reports, Black men have high rates of high blood pressure - a top reading over 130 or a bottom one over 80.

The study included 319 black men with high blood pressure who frequented 52 barbershops in the Los Angeles area. The first group's barbers encouraged patrons to meet with specially trained pharmacists who met the men monthly in the barbershop-where they prescribed blood pressure medication, monitored blood tests and then sent progress notes to each patron's primary care provider.

After six months, 64 percent of the men who saw a pharmacist achieved healthy blood pressure, compared with just under 12 percent of those who did not see a pharmacist, the investigators found.

In the second group, barbers encouraged the men to seek advice from their respective primary care providers on treatment and lifestyle changes. Diastolic blood pressured dropped by 4 mm Hg in this group.

High blood pressure is a key risk factor for heart disease and a leading cause of heart attack and stroke. At six months, 100 percent of those seeing a pharmacist and 63 percent of those seeing only a barber were taking blood pressure medications.

Drug therapy in barbershops by specialty-trained pharmacists can be a useful intervention to target hypertension in the shops' patrons with hypertension, according to a new study presented at the American College of Cardiology Scientific Session.

"A big takeaway from this study is to release the fears", said Muhammad, who is a co-author of the study.

Previous studies have shown that equipping barbers-who remain trusted, consistent and convenient influencers for many African-American men-with health information can positively affect health.

"There is a different level of trust and respect that's earned when you meet people where they are, instead of in a hospital or clinic", Blyler said.

Over the course of six months, both control groups experienced a drop in blood pressure, although the first group - with a medication intervention - had a decline three times more than the group that only promoted lifestyle changes and doctor visits. While high blood pressure is a common problem among many American adults, African-American men are more likely than other groups to have high blood pressure that is not adequately controlled and tend to have less contact with the health care system.

"This is a very large effect for a hypertension trial of any kind", Victor said. "With this program, we have been able to overcome that barrier".

Researchers are now studying whether the initial blood pressure reductions can be sustained for another six months.



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