Skip to main content

blood pressure

Can Barbers Help Black Men Lower Their Blood Pressure?

Posted on by

Barbershop trial

Caption: Barber Eric Muhammad (left) in his barbershop taking the blood pressure of patron.
Credit: Smidt Heart Institute, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

You expect to have your blood pressure checked and treated when you visit the doctor’s office or urgent care clinic. But what about the barbershop? New research shows that besides delivering the customary shave and a haircut, barbers might be able to play a significant role in helping control high blood pressure.

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a particularly serious health problem among non-Hispanic black men. So, in a study involving 52 black-owned barbershops in the Los Angeles area, barbers encouraged their regular, black male patrons, ages 35 to 79, to get their blood pressure checked at their shops [1]. Nearly 320 men turned out to have uncontrolled hypertension and enrolled in the study. In a randomized manner, barbers then encouraged these men to do one of two things: attend one-on-one barbershop meetings with pharmacists who could prescribe blood pressure medicines, or set up appointments with their own doctors and consider making lifestyle changes.

The result? More than 63 percent of the men who received medications prescribed by specially-trained pharmacists lowered their blood pressure to healthy levels within 6 months, compared to less than 12 percent of those who went to see their doctors. The findings serve as a reminder that helping people get healthier doesn’t always require technological advances. Sometimes it may just involve developing more effective ways of getting proven therapy to at-risk communities.


Does Gastric Bypass Reduce Cardiovascular Complications of Diabetes?

Posted on by

Doctor with patient

Thinkstock/IPGGutenbergUKLtd

For obese people with diabetes, doctors have increasingly been offering gastric bypass surgery as a way to lose weight and control blood glucose levels. Short-term results are often impressive, but questions have remained about the long-term benefits of such operations. Now, a large, international study has some answers.

Soon after gastric bypass surgery, about 50 percent of folks not only lost weight but they also showed well-controlled blood glucose, cholesterol, and blood pressure. The good news is that five years later about half of those who originally showed those broad benefits of surgery maintained that healthy profile. The not-so-good news is that the other half, while they generally continued to sustain weight loss and better glucose control, began to show signs of increasing risk for cardiovascular complications.


Got Your Red On?

Posted on by

The hard truth is that heart disease is the #1 killer of American women. And it’s largely preventable. The Heart Truth® was started here at NIH’s National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to raise awareness of these truths. You’re probably most familiar with the campaign through its February 1st fashion statement, which has arguably become a cultural icon: the red dress. The Red Dress® is a decade old this year. And, like heart disease, it doesn’t discriminate by gender. Everyone can wear red today. It’s a symbol of solidarity – and a reminder that we should each attend to our heart’s needs every day: by making healthful decisions like exercising more, quitting smoking, and maintaining a healthy weight and blood pressure.

For more information:
The Heart Truth: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/educational/hearttruth/
Women and Heart Disease: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/hdw/

The Heart Truth info graphic

Click on the image to view full sized.
Source: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, NIH