Heart disease, also called cardiovascular disease, refers collectively to a number of conditions that cause narrowed or blocked blood vessels and contribute to heart attacks, chest pain, or stroke. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it is responsible for about 610,000 deaths in the US and causes around 735,000 people in the country to suffer heart attacks each year. Despite these staggering numbers, many instances could be prevented through a healthier lifestyle.
Since February is American Heart Month, it’s a good idea to think about what you can do to minimize your risk of developing the disease, and to identify any potential risk factors. One surprising way to protect your heart is to pay attention to your hearing.
Heart disease and hearing loss
The link between heart disease and hearing loss well established. Research from Harvard University found that hearing loss occurs 54 percent more often in people with the disease, compared to the general population. The two conditions often occurring simultaneously.
The reason is that the tiny hair cells in the inner ear responsible for conducting sound to the brain are especially vulnerable to poor blood flow resulting from narrowed blood vessels. If these cells fail to get sufficient oxygen through the blood, they can be damaged irreparably and leave you with diminished hearing. Given the effects of poor blood circulation on hearing, any detected hearing loss could be a warning sign of a larger issue with your cardiovascular system.
Keeping your heart healthy
There are many things you can do to take care of your heart that will also help protect your hearing:
- Avoid smoking: Since smoking is known to be harmful, quitting the habit and avoiding secondhand smoke can help reduce the risk for both heart disease and hearing loss.
- Exercise: An active lifestyle is another way protect both systems. Whether you prefer walking, jogging, swimming, or other physical activity, exercising for 20-30 minutes per day, four or five days a week, can contribute to a healthy heart and healthy hearing.
- Eat well: Also important is proper nutrition. A diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fish, while avoiding foods with high amounts of saturated fat, trans fat, and sodium are important to reduce the risk.
Very few health conditions occur in a vacuum—what happens to one system can lead to problems in another part of the body. If you already have hearing loss, it’s important to speak to your healthcare professional about whether it indicates other diseases as well.
If you think you may be experiencing hearing loss and are ready to treat it, call Schmidt’s Optical and Hearing™ today at 772-286-4327 and schedule your FREE comprehensive hearing evaluation with our Board Certified Hearing Aid Specialist.
*Some of this content was provided by signiausa.com.