Normal blood pressure levels are 120/80 or less, and high blood pressure levels are 140/90 or higher. The men in the study-who were 35 to 79 years old-had systolic blood pressure measurements of 140 or more.
"When we provide convenient and rigorous medical care to African-American men by coming to them-in this case having pharmacists deliver that care in barbershops-blood pressure can be controlled and lives can be saved", said study lead author Ronald G. Victor, MD, associate director of the Smidt Heart Institute.
"Among black male barbershop patrons with uncontrolled hypertension, health promotion by barbers resulted in larger blood-pressure reduction when coupled with medication management in barbershops by specialty trained physicians", the authors wrote in the conclusion. In all, 63.6% of the intervention group achieved a blood-pressure level of less than 130/80 mm Hg, compared with 11.7% of the control group.
Black men can access health care in a familiar setting: their favorite barbershop.
"We all expected the intervention to be effective, but I don't think any of us could have predicted the magnitude of the effect we ultimately saw", said pharmacist Ciantel Adair Blyler, one of the co-authors of the study, who visited 10 different barbershops in Inglewood, Compton, Bellflower, and Long Beach. During each pharmacist visit, the men in this group received a blood pressure evaluation and a finger-stick blood test, which the pharmacist used to evaluate each man's response to blood pressure medications and adjust prescriptions as needed. Those in the pharmacist arm of the study were also taking two more medications by the end of the study, compared with the barber-only arm.
For the patrons working with their barbers and pharmacist, systolic blood pressure dropped from 153 mmHg at the start of the study to 126 mmHg after six months, along with a decrease in diastolic blood pressure of 18 mmHg. Poor diets, lack of exercise and other bad habits cause most high blood pressure.
After six months, nearly two-thirds of participants in the group working with pharmacists brought their blood pressure into the healthy range, the study found. The rest were given advice and encouragement on healthy lifestyle choices from their barber, who urged them to see a doctor for follow up.
Men who met only with their barber saw their systolic blood pressure drop from 155 mmHg at the start of the study to 145 mmHg after six months. "With this program, we have been able to overcome that barrier".
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We hope that something can be worked out and they can secure the release of these girls quickly, " he said. Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson , has been removed after completing his first African tour.
"It's the silent killer, and it has cost the lives and health of a lot of good men", he said. About 43 percent of Black men have high blood pressure, compared to 34 percent of White men and 28 percent of Latino men, CDC data show.
"A big takeaway from this study is to release the fears", Muhammad said.
"This is a very significant effect for a hypertension trial of any kind", said Victor, whose hypertension was diagnosed by a barber in Dallas during his first barbershop-based study in the 1990s.
Researchers have started a second phase of the study to determine if the benefits can be sustained for another six months.
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.
Victor also hopes to expand the program to other parts of the country, including African-American men with more moderate blood pressure levels.