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The effect of improving the thermal quality of cold housing on blood pressure and general health: a research note
  1. E L Lloyd1,
  2. C McCormack2,
  3. M McKeever3,
  4. M Syme3
  1. 1
    72 Belgrave Road, Edinburgh, UK
  2. 2
    Easthall, Easterhouse, Glasgow, UK
  3. 3
    Easthall Residents Association, The Glenburn Centre, Easterhouse, Glasgow, UK
  1. Dr E L Lloyd, 72 Belgrave Road, Edinburgh EH12 6NQ, UK; evlloyd{at}


Objective: To examine the effect of improving the thermal quality of housing on blood pressure (BP) and general health.

Design: A before and after study comparing the changes of the intervention with controls.

Setting: Four blocks of flats in the Easthall area of Easterhouse in Glasgow.

Participants: Residents of the four blocks who agreed to participate.

Intervention: Two blocks of flats were upgraded from being cold, damp and mouldy to being comfortably warm, dry and mould free throughout.

Main outcome measures: Changes in BP, general health and financial status.

Results: In the intervention subjects, systolic and diastolic blood pressures fell very significantly (p<0.000). There was also an improvement in general health as reported subjectively, and as indicated by a reduction in the use of medication and in hospital admissions. In addition, there was a markedly reduced expenditure on heating costs and other previous expenses. There were no changes in the control subjects in any of these measures.

Conclusion: Improving the thermal quality of housing to eliminate damp and mould and produce a comfortable temperature throughout the house has a major impact on the health of the residents. There are also financial benefits for the residents, and indirectly for the NHS.

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  • Funding:Nuffield Foundation grant SOC/181(2144).

  • Competing interests: None.

  • Ethics approval: Ethics approval was given by the Ethics Committee of the Department of Anaesthetics of Edinburgh University at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh.

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