WAUKESHA, WI, May 3, 2023 – Visitors to the Waukesha Public Library now can check out blood pressure monitor kits to measure their blood pressure at home for up to three weeks, thanks to a joint effort with the American Heart Association and ProHealth Care.
The program, which launched last week, is part of the Association’s “Libraries with Heart” initiative. Library staff received an orientation about the program prior to its kickoff, including a demonstration of the monitor, an overview of kit items, and blood pressure education from DeAnna Fish, chief nursing officer at ProHealth Care Rehabilitation Hospital of Wisconsin.
Nearly half of American adults have high blood pressure, which can lead to stroke, heart disease, kidney disease, vision loss and sexual dysfunction. The best way to know if you have high blood pressure is to check your blood pressure and talk about it with your health care provider.
For more blood pressure information, visit https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/high-blood-pressure.
The kit includes American Heart Association guided materials such as a validated monitor and cuff, educational resources on how to properly take your blood pressure at home, a log for recording your numbers, and a list of local healthcare providers ready to answer questions. These materials are offered in English and Spanish, with other languages being explored and offered soon.
“When the American Heart Association contacted us about the ‘Libraries with Heart’ program, we jumped at the opportunity to participate,” Waukesha Public Library Marketing Manager Kori Hall said. “What an amazing opportunity to help educate the community about the importance of monitoring your own health risks and to provide them with the tools to help make that happen.”
The opportunity for patrons to take control of their blood pressure in the comfort of their own home makes the program even more beneficial, Hall said.
“By providing access to these kits, we hope people will be encouraged to learn more about the consequences of high blood pressure, understand how they can control their own blood pressure, and seek medical attention if appropriate,” she said.
“Some people may be more comfortable with a monitor that can be used in the privacy of their own home, as opposed to going to a doctor’s office or using a machine in a public pharmacy, and we’re happy to be able to provide that tool for them.”
ProHealth Care was happy to join the effort. ProHealth Care provided the funding for the blood pressure monitors, printed American Heart Association materials in the kits and also offered the list of area clinics that can be shared with patrons.
“This initiative helps provide important resources for people who may otherwise go without them,” said Sarah Butz, ProHealth’s community benefit director. “The library is a hub for learning and activities, so it’s exciting to reach out to community members there.”
Blood pressure numbers of less than 120/80 mm Hg are considered within the normal range. If your results fall into this category, stick with heart-healthy habits like following a balanced diet and getting regular exercise. People with elevated blood pressure are likely to develop high blood pressure unless steps are taken to control the condition. (https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/high-blood-pressure/understanding-blood-pressure-readings/monitoring-your-blood-pressure-at-home)
“Hypertension is one of the most significant risk factors for cardiovascular disease and is easy to miss if blood pressure isn’t checked,” ProHealth Care Vice President of Specialty Care and Volunteer President of the Milwaukee American Heart Association Dr. Tom Wozniak said. “The library program allows those with limited access to blood pressure monitoring an opportunity to screen for this ‘silent killer.’”
In addition to the lending program, one monitor and cuff will stay onsite to be used in addition with other programming, such as the Waukesha Memory Café, a program designed for people experiencing memory loss.
“Meeting people where they are is fundamental to our mission at the American Heart Association,” American Heart Association Senior Community Impact Director Susan Hjelsand said. “Not only is this an opportunity for people to learn more about their heart health, ‘Libraries with Heart’ allows for the critical link to health care, and a warm introduction to medical expertise. Everyone involved in this program is seeking to remove barriers to becoming healthier and saving lives.”
About the American Heart Association
The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Connect with us on heart.org, Facebook, Twitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.
About the American Stroke Association
The American Stroke Association is a relentless force for a world with fewer strokes and longer, healthier lives. We team with millions of volunteers and donors to ensure equitable health and stroke care in all communities. We work to prevent, treat and beat stroke by funding innovative research, fighting for the public’s health, and providing lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based association was created in 1998 as a division of the American Heart Association. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-888-4STROKE or visit stroke.org. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.