Celebrating American Heart Month
February is American Heart Month, and, while it’s absolutely critical to take good care of your heart throughout the year, this month is a good reminder of just how important heart health is to your overall health.
Did you know that heart conditions can impact more than just your general health? That’s right, heart health is considered a very common comorbidity, which is essentially a health condition that is related to another health condition, like the connection between heart disease and diabetes or, that’s right, heart disease and hearing loss.
But what is the connection between your heart and hearing loss, anyway, and how can you best take care of your hearing by taking care of your heart? Let’s dig in and learn more together!
How is heart health connected to hearing loss?
There is still a lot of learning to be done in the world of hearing loss and cardiovascular diseases and disorders, but thanks to scientific research and technology, we can make a pretty educated guess as to why so many people with heart conditions also suffer from hearing loss.
Many cardiovascular problems occur when the heart can’t pump blood through your body as effectively as it used to, preventing your body from getting the amount of oxygen it needs to function. This happens because of the build-up of fat and cholesterol (or plaque) within your blood vessels that cause the vessels to shrink or become blocked altogether, limiting blood flow.
Without proper blood flow to bring oxygen to various organs and tissues, your organs will have a harder time carrying out key functions in the body, and your ears are not immune to the consequences!
Though small, your outer and inner ears are made up of many different small arteries that allow each part of your ear to function, and without proper blood flow, these arteries become less effective at the key role they play in allowing you to hear and process external sounds.
While it’s certainly not a guarantee if you have heart disease that you will also develop hearing loss, there is definitely a strong connection between the two, and keeping your heart healthy is just one of the ways you can keep your hearing healthy.
Heart (and hearing) health tips & tricks
If you’re not already taking concrete steps to improve your heart health, February is a great month to start! As hearing care professionals, we are big advocates for our patients’ holistic health, so here are just a few of the ways you can celebrate American Heart Month and give your heart some love.
Exercise: Moving your body is a great way to get your heart rate up and increase blood flow to the body, making it less likely that blockages will form. We realize that not everyone can handle weight lifting or running miles on the treadmill every day, but getting out for a walk or hike, stretching, or doing yoga are all great and low-impact ways to get your body moving and boost heart health.
A Healthy Diet: Equally as important as exercise is eating a healthy diet and nourishing our bodies through food. Make sure your diet is well-balanced and includes plenty of lean proteins, fresh veggies and fruits, and fiber while cutting out foods that are high in saturated fat or sugary.
There are even some foods that have been scientifically proven to boost heart health, like black beans, salmon, almonds, and spinach, and adding a few of these foods to your regular diet can make a big difference in your heart health.
Get Tested: One of the easiest ways to see if you’re at a higher risk for heart disease is to see your primary care physician and get your cholesterol levels tested. High cholesterol can be an early warning sign of blockages in your arteries that will lead to heart disease and other health issues, but identifying it early makes it easier to treat.
Another test you can get to ensure your heart and hearing are as health as can be is, of course, a hearing test! If you’ve never gotten your hearing tested before, a test may identify a hearing loss you didn’t even know you had – after all, many people go years with a hearing loss before receiving an official diagnosis.
While American Heart Month is just 28 short days, the team at Beltone Tristate is available year-round to help folks take control of their hearing health. Schedule your FREE hearing test, today!