Going to get your haircut doesn’t affect most people’s blood pressure – except in Dallas County, Texas. A New York Times article reports that when barbers in Dallas County checked their male customers’ blood pressure on every visit, the men were much more likely to see a doctor and take care of their high blood pressure. The article is written by Roni Caryn Rabin, and I encourage you to check it out here: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/02/health/research/02awareness.html. The New York Times article is based on a study published last week in Archives of Internal Medicine.
The study was conducted over the course of two years in 17 black-owned barber shops. Eight shops handed out pamphlets to patrons found to have high blood pressure at the beginning of the study. Nine shops offered blood pressure checks and urged hypertensive customers to visit the doctor’s office. The result: more than half of both groups had their blood pressure under control by the end of the study. You can check out the study here: http://archinte.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/short/archinternmed.2010.390.
Reading this story made me think back to Medieval days when barbers served as the closest thing people had to a physician. It seems like the barber still holds a trusted and influential position!
Post by Dan Dunlop with Stephanie Cohen, UNC-Chapel Hill Student and Jennings Intern