Barber Eric Muhammad (left) and customer Mark Sims (Smidt Heart Institute at Cedars-Sinai)
**FILE** Barber Eric Muhammad (left) and customer Mark Sims (Smidt Heart Institute at Cedars-Sinai)

Black men who have participated in pharmacist-led blood pressure reduction programs in barbershops continue to have substantial improvements in blood pressure, according to the results of a yearlong study published last month in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The study, led by Cedars-Sinai’s Smidt Heart Institute, involved 52 Los Angeles County barbershops followed by researchers that were assigned to either a pharmacist-led intervention or an active control group. The men, ages 35 to 79, had blood pressure levels of 140/90 or more.

“Among Black male barbershop patrons with uncontrolled hypertension, health promotion by barbers resulted in large and sustained blood pressure reduction over 12 months when coupled with medication management by American Society of Hypertension–certified pharmacists,” the researchers said in a statement.

The results also showed that when guidance was coupled with medication, a blood pressure measurement of less than 130/80 was achieved by 68 percent of men who participated in the program, compared to 11 percent of those who did not.

According to the American Heart Association, the prevalence of high blood pressure, or hypertension, in Blacks living in the U.S. is among the highest in the world. More than 40 percent of Black men and women have high blood pressure.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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