Self-measured blood pressure monitoring kits are coming to Wyoming libraries, thanks to a collaborative pilot project among the University of Wyoming’s Wyoming Center on Aging (WyCOA), the Wyoming Department of Health’s Chronic Disease Prevention Program, and local public libraries.
Albany County Library began circulating 10 kits in October, available at all locations, including the bookmobile. Sweetwater County Library System and Park County Library went live on December 14. Natrona County Library will begin on January 16. Sublette County Library, Lincoln County Library System, Big Horn County Library, Washakie County Library, Sheridan County Public Library System, Laramie County Library System, and Carbon County Library System are slated for February.
The kits, available in both English and Spanish, include an automated home blood pressure cuff, blood pressure logbooks, educational materials from the American Heart Association, information on what blood pressure is, and ideas for healthy lifestyle changes. The kits also include a resource directory of local community-based organizations and referral resources to the Cent$ible Nutrition Program and the Healthy U chronic disease self-management program.
Nearly half of adults in the United States — 47 percent, or 116 million — have high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, or are taking medication for hypertension, and 24 percent with hypertension have their condition under control, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In Wyoming, 30.7 percent of adults have been told that they have high blood pressure, according to the Wyoming Department of Health’s Chronic Disease Prevention Program.
While self-measured blood pressure is not a substitute for regular visits to a primary care physician, it is a way for individuals to see and track their numbers, giving them more information that can be communicated to their doctors.
“Information is power, and the more information a patient and their doctor have, the better the treatment plan,” says Maggie Kougl, a WyCOA senior project coordinator. “Better treatment plans lead to better overall health. That’s the goal of this project — to work to improve the health of our communities.”