ALBANY, NEW YORK, December 6, 2023 — High blood pressure is often referred to as “the silent killer.” Since it frequently has no symptoms, many people don’t know they have it. But a recent program of the American Heart Association, devoted to a world of healthier lives for all, and local libraries are making it easier for people to know if their blood pressure is putting them at greater risk of a heart attack or stroke.
Thanks to funding from Broadview Federal Credit Union, the American Heart Association is proving self-monitoring blood pressure cuffs to local libraries that they can loan to patrons. Participating libraries will receive a kit that contains loaner cuffs with an A/C adaptor and an educational packet that includes instructions on how to monitor blood pressure at home.
Library staff will be trained in the use of the cuffs, and pointing patrons to resources, but will not provide medical advice. Those with high blood pressure readings will be encouraged to visit their doctors, and those without a medical home will be encouraged to reach out to medical providers for further guidance.
“The American Heart Association is committed to equitable health for all, and libraries are a place where all community members can gather. When people know their blood pressure is high, they can take steps to change this leading risk factor for heart disease and stroke,” said Mandeep Sidhu, M.D., Associate Dean of Clinical Sciences & Research Affairs, Professor of Medicine (Cardiology) & Professor of Medical Education at Albany Med Health System, and president of the board of directors of the American Heart Association in the Capital Region. “We hope that many people take advantage of this opportunity to borrow the cuffs and assess their own blood pressure levels.”
Kelly Akin, Manager of the Valley Falls Free Library, said she sees the blood pressure monitoring as a continuation of work to provide health resources to the local community.
“One thing the pandemic showed us was how much libraries do for the community,” Akin said. “If people have no idea what their blood pressure is, they can borrow a cuff and try it out before they buy it. The stationary cuffs can be part of their routine.”
“We are working to better meet the needs of our community, including connecting individuals with health and wellness tools and information. The inclusion of blood pressure cuffs in our collection is a fantastic addition to the items that we loan to our patrons. We know they can be invaluable tools for individuals as they work to improve their health,” said Valerie Acklin, Gloversville Public Library Director.
“Broadview is proud to support this creative and impactful effort by the American Heart Association and our local libraries to help our neighbors improve their heart health,” said Broadview CEO Michael Castellana. “Giving people greater access to blood pressure cuffs and teaching them about the importance of monitoring their blood pressure will help people of all ages make more informed health decisions, which may ultimately save their lives.”
Libraries that will be loaning the cuffs include:
- Berlin Free Town Library
- Cohoes Public Library
- Hudson Area Library
- Gloversville Public Library
- Stephentown Memorial Library
- Troy Public Library, Lansingburgh Branch
- Valley Falls Free Library
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, X or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.