Blood Pressure Checks to be Provided in English Barbershops for Men


London (Parliament Politic Magazine) – As part of an NHS initiative aimed at preventing heart attacks, men in England will now be able to receive blood pressure checks at barbershops. Research indicates that men face twice the risk of heart attack compared to women.

High blood pressure significantly increases the likelihood of experiencing a heart attack; however, many individuals, both male and female, are often unaware of their condition due to the absence of noticeable symptoms.

Empowering Health through Lifestyle Choices: Mitigating Cardiovascular Risks

Heart attacks lead to around 100,000 annual NHS hospital admissions, equating to one every five minutes. Recent statistics reveal that the NHS has doubled the quantity of blood pressure assessments for individuals aged 40 and above within the past year. Now, health authorities have granted approval for a substantial expansion of the program throughout England.

To detect high blood pressure early and decrease the incidence of heart attacks, complimentary blood pressure screenings will be accessible at a broader array of locations, with barbershops being a notable addition to the list.

As part of the proposed measures, individuals will have the opportunity to access crucial health checks in various community settings, including barbershops, churches, mosques, community centers, and dominoes clubs.

Findings presented at the world’s largest cardiovascular conference in Amsterdam have revealed that men face a twofold higher relative risk of experiencing heart attacks compared to women. The study, which investigated gender-specific cardiovascular risks and was spearheaded by the University of Aberdeen, was showcased at the annual assembly of the European Society of Cardiology.

Expanded Blood Pressure Checks: A Step Towards Safer Hearts

Over a span from 1993 to 2018, the University of Aberdeen tracked more than 20,000 individuals aged 40 and above in the UK. The study accounted for numerous factors such as ethnicity, socioeconomic status, body mass index, physical activity, alcohol consumption, and smoking habits.

On average, the participants were monitored for 22 years. Prior research has already highlighted the elevated susceptibility of men to heart-related conditions. However, this new investigation quantifies the scope of this gender disparity.

The study revealed that men face a doubled relative risk of encountering heart attacks and peripheral artery disease in comparison to women.

Additionally, men exhibit a 50% increased risk of heart failure and atrial fibrillation. The study’s findings also unveiled a 42% higher risk of mortality from cardiovascular disease among men. Notably, the research did not investigate the underlying reasons behind these disparities.

Global Battle Against Cardiovascular Disease: Equal Risks for All Genders

Furthermore, men are predisposed to experiencing heart attacks at a younger age in comparison to women. The study’s conclusion stated, “Men exhibited a higher propensity for developing cardiovascular disease over their lifetimes in contrast to women, with the most notable sex differences observed in incidents of myocardial infarction and peripheral artery disease. This trend extended to atrial fibrillation, heart failure, and cardiovascular mortality.”

Dr. Tiberiu Pana, the lead researcher and an honorary research fellow at the University of Aberdeen, as well as a junior doctor within the NHS, emphasized, “The guidance is for men to proactively assess early risk factors, such as obesity, sedentary lifestyle, smoking, and alcohol consumption, and to engage with their GP to address these factors. Taking action sooner rather than later is highly beneficial in minimizing cardiovascular risk.”

“With 30,000 women annually being hospitalized for heart attacks in the UK, it is imperative to challenge the misconception that heart attacks primarily affect men.  “Maintaining a nutritious and well-balanced diet, engaging in regular physical activity, managing weight, and participating in health assessments when available all contribute to enhancing the likelihood of avoiding cardiovascular ailments.”

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Increasing Vigilance: Surge in Community Blood Pressure Screenings

The expansion of blood pressure checks will result in an additional 2.5 million assessments being conducted within the English community. The NHS anticipates that this initiative will prevent approximately 1,350 cardiovascular incidents annually.

Recent statistics indicate that in May of this year, there were 150,000 community-based blood pressure screenings, a notable increase from the 58,000 conducted in May 2022.

David Webb, England’s Chief Pharmaceutical Officer, emphasized, “As the number of individuals grappling with significant illnesses such as heart disease and various cardiovascular conditions is projected to rise substantially in the upcoming years, implementing preventive measures like easily accessible blood pressure checks – capable of detecting early indications and risks – becomes exceedingly crucial.”

Beth Malcolm

Beth Malcolm is Scottish based Journalist at Heriot-Watt University studying French and British Sign Language. She is originally from the north west of England but is living in Edinburgh to complete her studies.