The NHS is set to offer men blood pressure checks at the barbers in a drive to slash heart attacks
- An extra 2.5million free tests will be available in the community each year
The NHS will offer men blood pressure checks at the barbers as new research shows they are twice as likely as women to have a heart attack.
Health chiefs have revealed an extra 2.5million free tests will be available in the community each year as part of a drive to target men who are reluctant to visit a doctor.
They estimate it could help prevent more than 1,350 heart attacks and strokes every year.
High blood pressure is the third biggest risk factor for a heart attack or stroke, behind smoking and a poor diet.
Yet many people remain unaware they have it because there are often no obvious symptoms.
Health chiefs have revealed an extra 2.5million free tests will be available in the community each year as part of a drive to target men who are reluctant to visit a doctor (Stock Image)
High blood pressure is the third biggest risk factor for a heart attack or stroke, behind smoking and a poor diet (Stock image)
Doctors want more lifesaving checks to be offered at barbers, churches, mosques and community centres to spot cases early. It comes as research presented at the European Society of Cardiology Congress in Amsterdam shows the relative risk of heart attacks for British men is twice as high as it is for women.
The study, which tracked 20,000 people over 40 from 1993 to 2018, also found men were twice as likely to suffer peripheral artery disease, and had a 50 per cent higher risk of heart failure and atrial fibrillation.
Led by the University of Aberdeen, it said men have a 42 per cent higher risk of dying from such causes.
It also found men were more likely to experience a heart attack younger than women, typically around the age of 50 compared to 52-60. The study concluded: ‘Men had a higher risk of cardiovascular disease throughout their lifetime, but these sex differences were most pronounced for myocardial infarction and peripheral artery disease, followed by atrial fibrillation, heart failure and cardiovascular mortality.’
Lead researcher Dr Tiberiu Pana said: ‘Men should start looking early at risk factors like obesity, lack of exercise, smoking and alcohol consumption, and reach out to their GP to get those things addressed.’
Every year there are 100,000 hospital admissions due to heart attacks – one every five minutes – with the NHS doubling the number of blood pressure checks it offers to those over 40 in the last year.
Dr David Crichton, chief medical officer at NHS South Yorkshire, said expanding the scheme to locations such as barber shops would ‘connect with people who wouldn’t usually have their blood pressure checked’.
n Targeted screening of patients with type 2 diabetes could more than double diagnoses of heart conditions, a study suggests.
A team at the University Medical Centre Utrecht has developed a three-step process – a questionnaire, physical examination and, where necessary, referral to a cardiologist.
It found the strategy ‘more than doubled the number of diagnoses of heart failure, atrial fibrillation and coronary artery disease in high-risk patients’.
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