Narrator: Carolyn Moreland has lot to be thankful for these days.She survived a devastating stroke.
Carolyn Moreland: It showed me people don't think they can have a stroke.
Narrator: Stroke is a leading killer of women, but the risk is especially high for African Americans. Yet many black women are unaware of the danger.
Carolyn Moreland: Words mean a lot to me now. To me it means I can…I can…I can educate people about strokes. Yeah.
Narrator: And she's doing it from an unusual pulpit…her beauticians chair. In fact, it's a family affair.
Yaka Holloway: I think it's very important that we inform each other, with my mother being a stroke victim.
KeeKwak Holloway: Anytime I felt a pain, if I… was dizzy, if I…anything, I would run and… "Can you check my pressure"
Narrator: Carolyn and her daughters are part of are part of an innovative stroke education project in Atlanta.Beauticians around the city are telling their clients about the dangers of stroke and its warning signs.
Beautician: F.A.S.T.— F-A-S-T You receive any type of face numbness, arm numbness, speech… time is of the essence and you have to call 911.
Sharion Smith, RN: In our culture, we just know that African American women spend a lot of time in the beauty salon. And so the beautician actually has a captive audience.
Beautician: You should know that if you smoke you are at high risk for a stroke.
Narrator: A stroke is an interruption of the flow of blood to the brain. It's caused by a blood clot, by far the most common way or by blood vessels that have burst.According to the beauty shop education project black women between 35 and 55 are 5 times more likely than white women, to have a stroke.
Sharion Smith, RN: We know that there are cultural differences, you know…in the way we were brought up, our eating habits. When we know better, we are hoping we will do better.
Narrator: African American men and women are also more likely to have high blood pressure, the number one risk factor for stroke. All the more reason to stress lifestyle changes.
Sharion Smith, RN: Staying on my medication, watching my diet, doing exercises regularly, cutting down on the salt.
Yaka Holloway: Don't be afraid to go and visit the doctors.
Narrator: The pilot study is over now but the word continues to go out and it appears women are listening.
Beauty Client: We learned that it could happen to anybody and we just have to take heed.
Carolyn Moreland: People see me, so they know they have to make a change because I'm going to get on them.