Healthy Hearts

by Caroline Benitez

At Lakeland Volunteers in Medicine (LVIM), we strive to put heart into everything that we do. When it comes to getting our patients on track toward good health, understanding their heart health is the best place to start.

According to the CDC, nearly 75 million adults in the United States live with chronic high blood pressure – and only an average of 54% of these people have their condition under control. Having high blood pressure puts a person at an increased risk for serious conditions like heart disease and stroke down the road. As of 2019, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States.

Knowing your numbers is the first step towards controlling your risk against heart disease. That’s why we decided it was important to make sure patients have the tools they need to take control of their heart health.

Thanks to a grant from the Florida Association for Free and Charitable Clinics, LVIM was able to purchase 41 blood pressure monitors and develop a lending program. Patients can take a monitor home and track their blood pressure metrics ahead of their next visit. Collecting these readings in a relaxed home environment over an extended period allows for accurate results- and accurate results lets patients and providers work together to create a plan to tackle high blood pressure.

Small solutions like home monitoring really do make a big difference in the fight against heart disease. As of December 2019, 63% of LVIM hypertensive patients were evaluated as having blood pressure in good control during their most recent visit. Access to life changing medications, along with lifestyle changes like a healthy diet and exercise, gives LVIM patients the boost they need to keep their hearts beating strong for a long and healthy life.

LVIM provides free, high-quality, out-patient medical, dental, and mental health care to the working uninsured of Polk County in a compassionate manner. Through 19 years of excellent leadership, LVIM has grown into a thriving and crucial organization for the Polk County community serving the health care needs of over 4,300 eligible patients each year and providing nearly $10 million in services in 2019 alone. At LVIM the treatment is free, the care is priceless!

To find out if you qualify please visit or call (863) 688-5846.