Study finds black barbershops can help clients lower blood pressure

Study finds black barbershops can help clients lower blood pressure

But a study yesterday said they can also help encourage men to get their high blood pressure under control. "It's a no-brainer that black men are at the highest risk of high blood pressure". They are also much less likely to go to the doctor compared to black women.

A team of pharmacists, along with physicians from several medical centers in Southern California, conducted the study at 52 Los Angeles-area barbershops with an $8.5 million federal grant from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

Among the men who only had access to information, blood pressure dropped by an average of nine points, compared to a 27-point drop for those who had face-to-face time with pharmacists. By going into spaces where people felt at ease, doctors found patients were more receptive to testing and treatment for high blood pressure.

"By bringing state-of-the-art medicine directly to the people who need it on their home turf, in this case in a barbershop, and making it both convenient and rigorous, blood pressure can be controlled just as well in African-American men as in other groups", Victor said in a press release.

The group, which met for about a year in 2016, included a once-a-week visit from the pharmacist, who prescribed blood pressure medicine and followed up with the customers to make sure they were taking it.

In the control group, the barbers talked to the men about blood pressure and healthy lifestyle changes and encouraged them to see a health provider.

Other men in the study did not see a barbershop pharmacist.

"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.

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

"To a certain extent, I was surprised by the magnitude of the effect of the intervention", said Ciantel Blyler, a clinical pharmacist at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles who was a co-author of the study. "High blood pressure disproportionately affects the African-American community, and we must find new ways to reach out so we can prevent strokes, heart attacks, heart failure and early deaths". I said 'I don't like it.

The participants were divided into two groups. "With this program, we have been able to overcome that barrier". Only half of Americans with high pressure have it under control; many don't even know they have the condition.

In a study published in the American Journal of Public Health in August, Ravenell and his colleagues found that helping black men in barbershops through the process of registering for a colorectal cancer screening led to those men being significantly more likely to get screened over six months.

Medicines lowered his pressure to 125 over 95. "Since the barbershop is a place where men want to be, it's a place that's known for open collegial conversation, it really is a flawless place to relay health messages that are important for black men".

"Medical mistrust has been an important barrier to African-Americans seeking health care, and so the barbershop - where men go on a monthly basis and have an opportunity to develop a rapport with a trusted key opinion leader in the community - that rapport is a ideal foundation for talking about health", Ravenell said.

Using the barbershop for medical outreach efforts dates to medieval times, when barbers also were medical practitioners who sometimes performed surgery, often on those wounded in war. "All I could think about was me having a stroke and not being here for him. He didn't ask me nothing", Thomas said. "A place where they gather, when getting a haircut or not, and share information".

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