Tuesday, 19 June, 2018


Black Barbershops Are Helping Clients With Their High Blood Pressure

Black Barbershops Are Helping Clients With Their High Blood Pressure Black Barbershops Are Helping Clients With Their High Blood Pressure
Kristine Garrett | 13 March, 2018, 20:19

In an effort to engage more black men about their heart health, doctors are trying to meet patients where they are - specifically at the barbershop. The results were announced March 12 at the American College of Cardiology conference in Orlando, Florida.

The study included 303 men with an average blood pressure of 154 (anything over 130 is considered high), and 52 barbershops across Los Angeles. "Black men have less physician interaction than black women and lower rates of hypertension treatment and control, necessitating community outreach".

The participants were divided into two groups.

Barber Eric Muhammad, left, takes the blood pressure of patron Mark Sims during a clinical trial of hypertension in African-American men. According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that when barbers and pharmacists teamed up to provide patrons with "interventional therapy", participants saw a significant decline in their blood pressure. At 6 months, the mean systolic blood pressure dropped by 27.0 mm Hg (to 125.8 mm Hg) in the intervention group and by 9.3 mm Hg (to 145.4 mm Hg) in the control group.

"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", said lead author Ronald Victor, associate director of the Smidt Heart Institute at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

Each man was assigned either to a control group or to a program, where his barber would recommend that he meet with a trained pharmacist at the barbershop. Instead, barbers encouraged them to see their primary care provider for treatment and to make lifestyle changes, such as using less salt and exercising more. Also there was a decrease in diastolic blood pressure of 18 mmHg.

Researchers have started a second phase of the study to determine if the benefits can be sustained for an additional six months.

"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 researchers found almost 64% of the men who met with pharmacistsmonthly at their barbershop achieved a blood pressure level of less than 130/80 six months later, compared to the almost 12% of the men in the control group. Diastolic blood pressured dropped by 4 mmHg in this group.

"A big takeaway from this study is to release the fears", said Muhammad, who is a co-author of the study. Dr. Victor has a very honest desire to bring down blood pressure in people in general, and in black men in particular.

Victor said trust and rapport is essential because high blood pressure a chronic condition that requires ongoing care and lifestyle changes.

In 2011, Victor published a study that showed that barbers could be effective in helping their patrons battle hypertension. "With this program, we have been able to overcome that barrier".

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