Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Checking blood pressure at barbershops

I've seen similar stories before, but the idea of checking blood pressure at barbershops is not a bad idea at all. In fact, it's a great idea. This particular story is from Texas....

Haircuts, hypertension, and black-owned barbershops:

In a unique randomized trial, African American men who were patrons of black-owned barbershops in Dallas County, where they had their BP regularly measured and were encouraged to contact a physician when it was elevated, showed a mean 7.8-mm-Hg drop in systolic pressure over 10 months.

That was only 2.5-mm-Hg more of a drop (p=0.08) than seen in a comparator group of men who had received standard educational pamphlets on high BP in African Americans, but no BP checks or other encouragement to assess blood pressure, at the barbershops.

"That doesn't sound like much of a blood-pressure fall for any one person, but at the population level it's a very large effect," lead author Dr Ronald G Victor (Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute, Los Angeles, CA) observed for heartwire.

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