Barbershop pharmacists may trim down high blood pressure

Barbershop pharmacists may trim down high blood pressure

These differential targets and measurement locations may have factored into the results, and "normotensive office readings that mask high out-of-office blood pressure are common in black patients", they wrote.

In the second group, barbers encouraged the men to seek advice from their respective primary care providers on treatment and lifestyle changes.

But a study yesterday said they can also help encourage men to get their high blood pressure under control.

Their blood pressure dropped from 153 mmHg at the start of the study to 126 mmHg after six months.

In the first change to blood pressure guidelines in 14 years, the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology say that the threshold for high blood pressure should be lower. And after six months, 11.7 percent's blood pressure was in the healthy range.

"On average, men who interacted only with their barber and were referred to their own doctor saw their systolic blood pressure drop from 155mm Hg at the start of the study to 145mm Hg after six months", said the report.

The CDC lists the following ways a healthy lifestyle can keep your blood pressure at a healthy level: a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, getting enough physical activity, not smoking and limiting alcohol use.

Victor attributed the program's success to the combination of many factors, including the backing of the barbers, the medical rigor, and the convenience of specialty-trained pharmacists bringing such medical care directly to the comfortable environment of the barbershop, instead of requiring the men to visit a medical center for monitoring and medication management. At six months, 100 percent of those seeing a pharmacist and 63 percent of those seeing only a barber were taking blood pressure medications.

For the study, 319 men were recruited at 52 Los Angeles County barbershops. "What's different about this study is it looks at ways to effectively bring it down with the help of your friends, family and support group".

The researchers also pointed out an additional 3.5 million black men in the USA are considered to have hypertension now that the ACC and American Heart Association have dropped the lower threshold to 130/80 mm Hg. "We can not fear what the doctor will tell us". "It's a no-brainer that black men are at the highest risk of high blood pressure. Since I could see his heart in this, it was easy for me to offer assistance".

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.

Ravenell told CNN that places like barbershops are important considering the distrust many African-Americans have toward the health care system.

"High blood pressure is a chronic illness that requires a lifetime commitment to medication and lifestyle modification", Victor said. "With this program, we have been able to overcome that barrier".

Ronald G. Victor et al, A Cluster-Randomized Trial of Blood-Pressure Reduction in Black Barbershops, New England Journal of Medicine (2018).

"This is a very significant effect for a hypertension trial of any kind", said Victor, whose own hypertension was diagnosed by a barber in Dallas during his first barbershop-based study in the 1990s. The researchers note that sustainability beyond 6 months is being considered in ongoing extension study.

The doctor wants to expand his reach by studying 3,000 men in several cities across the country, as well as adding cholesterol screenings into the mix.

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