BY CAROLINE HAMRICK, AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION
On the outside, barbershops and beauty salons may look like places just to get your hair done, but on the inside, they are so much more. Barbershops and beauty salons have become pillars of the community, bringing people together for generations.
Imagine if your regular visit to your stylist not only helped your hair and your soul, but your health. “Hair, Heart & Health” is a brand new initiative in the Triad that could do just that. Launched by the American Heart Association and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, local participating barbershops and salons in the Triad will feature a blood pressure station, heart health information and ways to reduce risk factors.
Mr. Charlz Henry from The Hot Seat Studio Salon in Greensboro has his own story of heart disease within his family. His mother suffered from congestive heart failure, inspiring him to make serious lifestyle changes in an effort to protect his own heart health. Not only did he bring his vital health numbers down, but he lost 70 lbs. through healthy lifestyle changes.
More often than not, barbers and hairstylists serve in dual roles of therapist and hairdresser. Their clients are like family, and together they share a history. When health issues arise in conversation, it’s important that accurate information is being shared. The shop owners and stylists from the Hair, Heart & Health participating salons and shops are being trained by the American Heart Association and community partners to be health ambassadors. They are being trained to know the warning signs of heart attack and stroke, and the ways clients can prevent heart disease and stroke by managing their risk factors.
Heart disease risk factors are highest among African-American populations, and some of the most common risk factors are high blood pressure and diabetes. Barbershops and salons have always been pillars of African-American communities. By implementing this program in local salons, the program strives to decrease the percentage of heart disease and stroke in under-resourced communities, and make a positive health impact in the Triad.
The Hair, Heart & Health program will be initiated in nine local barbershops and salons across the Triad. In Greensboro, salons taking part are The Hot Seat Studio Salon, United Barbershop, Marte’s Barber Shoppe, Heads Up Barbers, and Glenwood Barr-Ber Shop. In High Point, Hair One is participating. In Winston-Salem, Gentlemen’s Grooming Lounge, Blend Masters and Bailey’s Hair Creations are participating.
Through this new program, barbershops and beauty salons could one day provide a hotspot for community, social, family and health conversations.
- African-Americans in the U.S. have a higher prevalence of high blood pressure than other racial or ethnic groups.
- Sixty percent of African-American males and 57% of black females have cardiovascular disease.
- Blacks also have a higher risk of first-ever ischemic strokes.
- African-Americans have an increased prevalence of high blood pressure, an increased likelihood of resistant hypertension, increased overweight and obesity rates, and increased prevalence of prediabetes.