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The Voice of the Black Community


NC barbers advocate cardiac health with America Heart Association
Hair Heart and Health champions training
Published Monday, May 31, 2021 8:15 am
by Nadia Ramlagan | North Carolina News Service

Derrick Pettiford, owner of Miracles Barbershop in Roxboro, enrolled in the American Heart Association's Hair, Heart and Health program after a client suffered a heart attack while waiting for a haircut.

ROXBORO – Barbers in North Carolina are helping clients check their blood pressure and pass along the heart-health information they need to help reduce risk factors for heart disease and stroke.

Derrick Pettiford, owner of Miracles Barbershop in Roxboro, who is participating in the American Heart Association's Hair, Heart and Health program, said he feels empowered by the knowledge he's received, especially after one of his clients experienced a heart attack while waiting for a haircut.

“To get involved with a program like this to share with our clients, and different ones that come in with all different types of questions, by me getting involved in this program, that will be monumental to saving their life,” Pettiford said.

Pettiford recounted how he called 911 and an ambulance came to assist the client.

Hair, Heart and Health, a statewide initiative by the American Heart Association and Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, aims to improve heart health in Black populations by offering trainings and encouraging blood-pressure checks.

Jerry Williams, a longtime client of Pettiford’s shop, said he didn’t have any symptoms before he suddenly had difficultly breathing in the barbershop. He added he felt grateful his barber contacted emergency medical services and his wife during the episode.

“I was just sitting there, sitting there waiting, and when I got up and got in the chair, it just hit, all of a sudden,” Williams recalled.

A 2018 study from the University of Florida found two-thirds of Black men 40 and older may be at high risk for cardiovascular disease.

According to the AHA, heart disease is a primary cause of disparities in life expectancy between Black Americans and whites. In addition to family history, risk factors for heart disease include high blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking.


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