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Check out heart healthy habits with the “Libraries with Heart” program

American Heart Association, HCA Florida Healthcare and Orange County Library System provides vital health resources to the community.

February 26, 2024
Blood pressure toolkit

Orlando, FL — As Central Florida's Libraries with Heart program grows, so does community access to vital health resources.

The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association and their Together to End Stroke sponsor, the HCA Healthcare Foundation, are working with HCA Florida Healthcare and Orange County Library System to prevent stroke and improve health in Greater Orlando by empowering community members to know their numbers and monitor their blood pressure.

High blood pressure is a leading cause of both heart disease and stroke. It’s often referred to as the “silent killer” because it can do damage to a person’s health without any symptoms. High blood pressure leads to cardiovascular disease which is the number one cause of death in the United States. Cardiovascular disease accounts for approximately one out of every five deaths in Florida.

Through the Libraries with Heart program, Orange County Library System cardholders can check out a blood pressure monitoring kit to self-measure their blood pressure, access simple health literature and receive referrals to affordable clinics should they need care. Currently, the Eatonville, Hiawassee, Orlando Public Library, South Creek, South Trail, Southwest, Washington Park, Windermere and Winter Garden branches have launched Libraries with Heart and blood pressure kits are available for check out by library card holders at these sites.

“We are honored to help raise awareness of heart and stroke prevention through the American Heart Association’s Libraries with Heart program to help raise awareness of heart health and stroke prevention,” said Wendy Brandon, chief executive officer, UCF Lake Nona Hospital, one of five HCA Florida Healthcare hospitals in the Greater Orlando area. “Empowering our community members to take an active role in monitoring and managing their heart health is helping us make real strides in the fight against heart disease and stroke.” Brandon is a member of the American Heart Association’s Circle of Red as well as the Greater Orlando Heart Walk Executive Leadership Team and will serve as Greater Orlando Heart Walk chair in 2025.

The American Heart Association’s Greater Orlando Community Impact team, HCA Florida Healthcare, and Orange County Library System are working to bring Libraries with Heart to all 15 branches. Blood pressure kits may be checked out for two weeks at a time and come with information on how to measure blood pressure correctly and blood pressure tracking logs in English and Spanish so individuals can bring the information to their doctor as needed.

“With support from the American Heart Association and HCA Florida Healthcare to make blood pressure monitoring kits more available to our community is a great addition to the treasury of resources Orange County Library System holds,” said OCLS Director and CEO Steve Powell. “Promoting heart health and providing blood pressure monitoring kits to the public is an important service we are proud to provide.”

The American Heart Association, HCA Florida Healthcare, and the Orange County Library System are working to launch Libraries with Heart at the Alafaya, Chickasaw, Fairview Shores, North Orange, Southeast, and West Oaks branches later this year. To learn more, contact Erick Sanchez.

February 26, 2024
UCF Lake Nona Medical Center