Program helps manage blood pressure

For years, Kevin Barney has lived with high blood pressure. But when he developed a slew of other health issues in 2018 and turned 50 in 2020, he decided it was time to do more to get his blood pressure under control. A project manager for Keck Medicine of USC, Barney met a co-worker involved with Target: BP, a free, evidence-based program from the American Heart Association that helps health care organizations manage high blood pressure through a team-based approach. Keck Medicine of USC was among the first in Los Angeles to pilot the program. Since enrolling in March 2020, Barney has gone from taking two blood pressure medications to one, lost 15 pounds and increased his energy level with the help of a care team that includes a pharmacist and an occupational therapist. Most importantly, his blood pressure is under control. More than 2 million people in Los Angeles County have high blood pressure — about half the population of the city of Los Angeles. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to heart failure, heart attack, stroke, vision loss, kidney disease and even death. "The good thing about the program is that it educated me about high blood pressure the right way," Barney said. "Having experts teaching and guiding me has given me the tools to continue this health journey on my own."