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The Racine Public Library has launched a new way to help its adult patrons. In addition to finding materials – like books, DVDs, CDs, and even household tools and more – when you visit the Racine Public Library, you can find necessary tools that can save a life. The Racine Public Library now has at-home blood pressure kits available for checkout. They are available to rent for a week at a time.

The Racine Public Library, located at 75 7th St., has received support by the American Heart Association (AHA) in Milwaukee to make this project a reality. These kits are available in both English and Spanish to accommodate diverse needs. The partnership between the AHA and the Racine Public Library will help many, said Angela Zimmerman, executive director of the Racine Public Library.

“(We are) proud to be partnering with the American Heart Association through these various undertakings,” she said. “As a public library offering free and accessible services to all with a vital focus of everything we do centered around community engagement, this is a perfect partnership to provide access to public health resources and education. We share the AHA’s sentiments in our excitement to see the influence as our efforts continue.”

According to the American Heart Association, high blood pressure is often known as the silent killer due to its lack of symptoms. More than 100 million American adults have some level of high blood pressure, defined as blood pressure greater than 120 (systolic) over 80 (diastolic). The Centers for Disease Control identifies uncontrolled hypertension as the second-leading cause of preventable death in the United States.

With at-home blood pressure monitoring kits available it will help address the problem facing many community members.

“This effort to help address high blood pressure shows this one time when silence is not golden in the library,” said an American Heart Association representative.

What does a kit contain?

The five at-home blood pressure monitoring kits contain the following:

  • blood pressure monitor
  • arm cuff
  • instruction manual
  • 5 informative handouts
    • Check. Change. Control.
    • Blood pressure log
    • 3 steps for reaching your blood pressure goals
    • What is high blood pressure?
    • Why should I limit sodium?

Please note that only the handouts are available to keep. All other items must be returned to the Racine Public Library. Tim Nikolai, the Senior Rural Health Director for the American Heart Association said that “when the kits were being looked at, every effort was made to find cuffs to fit a wide range of sizes.” However, they should only be used to address the needs of those who are 18 years and older.

Other resources

In addition to the new at-home blood pressure kits, the adult area of the Racine Public Library has other resources available to help create a healthier community. The adult area has literature and educational resources to help those in need. They are also going to be equipped with a validated blood pressure monitor. The current on-site monitor will not be available to the public until after construction in the library.

Likewise, library staff also are trained to use the monitors and to help people find resources if they are in need. If you are uncertain about using the machines, the staff members are there to help. While they will not provide medical advice, they can direct you to talk with your healthcare team or reach out to the local healthcare organizations in Racine for additional help if you need it.

Racine County residents, if you or a loved one are uninsured or are low-income, visit the Health Care Network for medical advice and attention. This free clinic can help address concerns you may have with your blood pressure.

In the future, a collaboration between the library and Carthage College nursing students will provide regular, ongoing opportunities for screening, education, and referral to care, along with the addition of more in-home blood pressure kits.

For more information on blood pressure, visit heart.org/talkaboutBP.

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