Hypertension is a significant public health problem, which can lead to life-threatening complications such as stroke or heart attack. Doctors are encouraged to screen their patients for high blood pressure, but this may not be sufficient, as many people lack access to affordable healthcare.
Recently, a new study from the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute found that neighborhood barbers may play an important role in helping their African-American customersmany of whom are at an increased risk of cardiovascular diseasetake control of their blood pressure.
The study, which is scheduled to be published in the February 2011 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, suggests that significant public health benefits could be obtained if barbers offered blood pressure checks to men who come to get their haircuts.
Lead author Ronald G. Victor said that empowering barbers to become “healthcare extenders” may help in the fight against the condition, which is often described as “a silent killer,” as sufferers do not often have recognizable symptoms.
The researcher believes that if this type of program was implemented at the 18,000 barbershops across the country, it would help avoid some 800 heart attacks, 550 strokes and 900 deaths every year.