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Barbershop pharmacists may trim down high blood pressure

Barbershop pharmacists may trim down high blood pressure

The pharmacists prescribed blood pressure medication, monitored blood tests and sent progress notes to each man's primary care provider. They came with "horrible" side effects, he said, and so he rarely took them. Lowering blood pressure through lifestyle modification and medications substantially reduces this risk.

The new work involved 303 men and 52 barbershops. As part of a study, these health services were provided at his barbershop and others across Los Angeles County.

Almost two-thirds of the men who saw pharmacists lowered their pressure to under 130 over 80 — the threshold for high blood pressure under new guidelines adopted last fall.

It turned out that, when the guidance was coupled with medication, a blood pressure level of less than 130/80 was achieved among 63.6% of men who participated in the study's program, versus 11.7% of those who didn't. Dr. Ronald Victor, a cardiologist at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, wanted to reach black men.

"It woke me up", said Sims, who has a young son.

Testing whether outreach would improve the situation, because black men generally have less physician interaction than black women, the researchers looked for a place in the community where they would be more apt to listen. "With this program, we have been able to overcome that barrier".

The reasons why some black men avoid physicians are complex and sometimes involve a deep-rooted distrust of the medical community. The other got facetime with pharmacists and access to treatment.

"There's open communication in a barbershop".

As a barber, "we know more about our customers than their spouses do", Thomas said.

Under current ACC/American Heart Association guidelines, blood pressure below 130/80 mm Hg is considered normal. Dr. Victor has a very honest desire to bring down blood pressure in people in general, and in black men in particular.

Black Americans also develop high blood pressure more often and at an earlier age than whites and Hispanics, according to the CDC.

Most people require several blood pressure medications to adequately control high blood pressure.

"It's a no-brainer that black men are at the highest risk of high blood pressure". The men, 35 to 79 years old, had systolic blood pressure of 140 or more.

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Some men were randomly assigned to meet with a trained pharmacist at each barbershop visit. The pharmacists worked directly with the men under a collaborative care agreement with their primary care doctors.

"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", pharmacist C. Adair Blyler said in the news release. "We can partner with others in the community and get this epidemic under control".

"They understood that we were there with good intentions". The rest were given advice and encouragement on healthy lifestyle choices from their barber, who urged them to see a doctor for follow up.

Researchers are now studying whether the initial blood pressure reductions can be sustained for another six months. The corresponding drops in the control group were 9.3 and 4 mm Hg, respectively.

The study had some limitations, including that it was not blind, because both participants and researchers knew who was assigned to the pharmacist-led program and who was in the control group.

The study was funded by a grant from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health, among other funding sources.

Medicines lowered his pressure to 125 over 95.

The blood pressure goal of less than 130/80 is consonant with new clinical practice guidelines that were released previous year, Blyler said.

A new study suggests that barbershops can provide more than just a hair trim; they can also help improve the health of their patrons.

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

The researchers found that 17.5% of men who received help were screened, compared with 8.4% of those who didn't receive the screening help. They tended to be long-time regulars at their barbershops and went about twice a month for a haircut. "All I could think about was me having a stroke and not being here for him".

"Folks can ask questions or get information about their health in a 'low-stakes, ' relaxed environment", she said.


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