Barbershop BP Readings

Shave and a BP Reading, Two Bits!

African Americans face more risk for high blood pressure than other populations.

In all, 59% of African American men and 56% of women have been diagnosed with high blood pressure — known as “the silent killer” because it has no symptoms. High blood pressure is a major risk factor for stroke.

There are many reasons for these statistics — including health inequities for many Black people such as a historical lack of access to health care and other basic living necessities.

In Cleveland, a nontraditional yet effective approach is underway: taking on high blood pressure in barbershops.

Blood pressure readings and information about the condition are now available at six barbershops that serve mostly African American clients.

The effort is part of the Barbers, Beauties and Blood Pressure program supported by the American Heart Association and Cleveland State University’s Partnership for Urban Health program.

Medical students conduct the readings and distribute awareness materials. In addition to tackling high blood pressure, the program also helps prepare the next generation of physicians in Greater Cleveland.

Watch PBS News Video about this story.