My least favorite part about getting my hair done at a salon isn’t the cost, or the fear my hairdresser will cut 3 inches, when I ask for 1, it’s actually having my hair washed and rinsed in the sink. You know the one; it’s got a groove for your neck, but it’s still oh-so-uncomfortable.

There’s actually something much more serious at stake than discomfort. Your hairdresser might be putting you at risk of getting a Beauty Parlor Stroke.

“A what?” It’s a stroke caused by damage to the blood vessels in your neck, as a result of the strain and jerky movements the salon’s shampoo sink creates. One woman noticed sudden weakness in her left arm and left leg about a week after a trip to her hair salon. Then, in about another week, she was rushed to the hospital with nausea, projectile vomiting, and a head that was hot to the touch. The doctors confirmed that she had suffered a stroke.

What is a stroke?
A stroke is a disease caused by restricted oxygen in the brain. When a blood vessel is blocked or damaged, it leads to abnormal blood flow or even clotting. This reduced blood flow makes its way to the brain and kills brain cells. The physical consequences depend on which region of the brain was affected. For example, damage in the left side of the brain can lead to problems with speech and language or problems in the right side of the body. Damage in the right side of the brain can lead to vision loss or problems in the left side of the body.Stroke is the #5 most common cause of death in the USA, and the #1 most common cause of disability. Stroke victims are 40% men and 60% women, and the risk of stroke increases with age. Still, 80% of strokes could have been prevented!

Symptoms of stroke:
One-sided weakness
Drooping face
Impaired speech (may sound intoxicated)
Loss of vision, double vision, or spinning vision
Stroke Prevention
In the hair salon:
Protect your neck! Make sure your hairdresser washes your hair in a sink that is comfortable for your height, or in an adjustable chair. Always rest the back of your neck on at least one folded towel (more is better) to minimize the strain.

At home:
Manage your blood pressure. Blood pressure is the largest preventable factor in getting strokes. Keeping your high blood pressure in check can make one of the biggest differences of stroke prevention.
Have a balanced, healthy diet. If you’re eating foods that are too high in trans fat, cholesterol, and sodium, you’re increasing your risk of stroke every day. Instead, focus on eating whole foods with healthy fat contents, flavor your meals with salt alternatives, and watch your sugar intake. For more tips you can check out this article.
Get active! It’s not only about what you put in your body, it’s about what you do with it. If your daily lifestyle lacks exercise, you increase your risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
If you, or anyone around you, start to experience the symptoms of a stroke, seek medical attention immediately! The faster you respond to the warning signs, the better your chances of survival and recovery.

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