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Checking your pressure at the salon and barber shop

You can go to the barber shop or hair salon and get your blood pressure checked for free. It's happening in a dozen locations in Buffalo and Niagara Falls.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — There are a dozen barber shops and beauty salons in Buffalo and Niagara Falls with free self-monitored blood pressure screening machines.

It's one of the first things you'll see when you enter Black Butterfly Salon and Spa on Main Street in Buffalo.

"We actually had a client last week who did a self test. We sat and monitored her while doing it, she did it three times and it was high, it was extremely high to the point it was alarming. I suggested she go to the doctor," said Carla Foster, co-owner of Black Butterfly.

Millennium Collaborative Care, in partnership with The National Witness Project, has expanded the "Beauty & Barber Shops Blood Pressure Self Screening Initiative."

The owner of Sean's House of Masters appreciates having it in his shop for clients.

"At least being in the barbershop while they are sitting and waiting, they have an opportunity to check their blood pressure aside from going to the doctor," said Sean Thompson.

Hypertension or high blood pressure tends to be higher in minority communities.

The device is an easy-to-use wrist cuff monitor. Your blood pressure is read in minutes.

According to Thompson, "being a community based business, I feel it is my fiduciary responsibility to have things like that for the public."

The initiative is about bringing cardiovascular health awareness to African-American communities in locations where many are most comfortable.

Foster calls the device "a convenience for those in the community. Instead of going to the hospital, they can do something as simple as while they're waiting check their blood pressure and then it educates them as well."

"We know that high blood pressure can lead to cardiovascular disease it can lead to stroke and so many other maladies so that it really is important to know where your blood pressure is," said Kinzer Pointer, who chairs the Millennium Collaborative Care Board.

According to the American Heart Association, an estimated 59 percent of all African-American men will be classified as having high blood pressure, 56 percent of African-American women,

47 percent of white men and 41percent of white women have high blood pressure.

"The earlier you know, then you actually go do something about it, see about treatment, employ a prognosis and do some changes in your own life, you're going to have greater rates of survival," said Pointer.

Here are the Buffalo locations:

Metropolitan Style Shop

1395 Jefferson Ave, Buffalo, NY 14208

Sean’s House of Masters

295 E Delavan Ave, Buffalo, NY 14208

Head Quarters Design Studio

1016 Kensington Ave #5, Buffalo, NY 14215

Heaven Sent Barber Shop

1016 Kensington Ave, Buffalo, NY 14215

Black Butterfly

2560 Main St, Buffalo, NY 14214

Amanda B Hair Salon

1241 Hertel Ave, Buffalo, NY 14216

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