SPINDALE, N.C. July 5, 2023 — You can check out books, movies and music at your local library, and now, if you’re a Foothills Consortium library patron in Rutherford County, you can also check your blood pressure.

The American Heart Association and the Association’s Together to End Stroke sponsor, Mission Health, supported by the HCA Healthcare Foundation, are working to prevent stroke and improve health in Western North Carolina by making checking and monitoring blood pressure more accessible.

“Our sponsorship of this initiative is vital to addressing uncontrolled blood pressure, a significant contributing risk factor for stroke, heart attack and other serious health issues,“ said Brad Kappalman, vice president of cardiovascular and neuroscience of Mission Health. “Programs such as Libraries with Heart will help more people in our community keep track of and manage their blood pressure and live longer, healthier lives.”

High blood pressure is a leading cause of both heart disease and stroke. In Rutherford County alone, an estimated 29.4% of residents have high blood pressure. It’s often referred to as the “silent killer,” because it can do damage to a person’s health without any symptoms.

Through the Libraries with Heart program, the public will be able to visit any one of six libraries to take their blood pressure for free or patrons can check out a blood pressure monitor for home use. Monitors can be checked out for 2 weeks with the option to renew twice. The devices come with toolkits that include information on how to measure blood pressure correctly and space to track blood pressure numbers so the information can be shared with a health care professional as needed. If a patron does not have a primary health care professional, the kit contains a list of clinics in the area.

April S. Young, library director of the Rutherford County Library System says improving the quality of life for their members is core to their mission.  

Library cardholders can check out blood pressure kits at these participating locations:

  • Rutherford County Library, Hayes Branch Library, Mountain Branch Library,
  • Mooneyham Public Library, Norris Public Library and Spindale Public Library.

“We are excited to bring Libraries at Heart to Rutherford County and inspire residents to take an active role in their own health,” said Tonya Ehrhardt, senior community impact consultant for the American Heart Association, Southeast Region. Knowing their blood pressure numbers, seeking treatment if needed and learning how to make healthy choices will improve and potentially save lives.”   

The Libraries with Heart program launched June 5 with a training for the Rutherford County librarians facilitated by Savanna Gary, a provider at the Mission Health Clinic Rutherford practice in Forest City.

The American Heart Association hopes to expand the program to libraries across the region. To learn more, contact Tonya.Ehrhardt @heart.org.

                                                                                      # # # #

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 and Twitter.

About HCA Healthcare

Nashville-based HCA Healthcare is one of the nation’s leading providers of healthcare services comprising 182 hospitals and approximately 2,300 ambulatory sites of care, including surgery centers, freestanding ERs, urgent care centers, and physician clinics, in 20 states and the United Kingdom. With its founding in 1968, HCA Healthcare created a new model for hospital care in the United States, using combined resources to strengthen hospitals, deliver patient-focused care and improve the practice of medicine. HCA Healthcare has conducted a number of clinical studies, including one that demonstrated that full-term delivery is healthier than early elective delivery of babies and another that identified a clinical protocol that can reduce bloodstream infections in ICU patients by 44%. HCA Healthcare is a learning health system that uses its more than 35 million annual patient encounters to advance science, improve patient care and save lives. Please click here to connect with HCA Healthcare on social media.

About HCA Healthcare Foundation
The mission of the HCA Healthcare Foundation is to promote health and well-being and strive to make a positive impact in all the communities HCA Healthcare serves. We accomplish this mission by providing leadership, service and financial support to effective non-profit organizations working individually and collectively.

For Media Inquiries:

American Heart Association
Sloan Garner, sloan.garner@heart.org

HCA Healthcare
North Carolina Division | Mission Health
Nancy Lindell, Nancy.Lindell@HCAHealthcare