At The Heart of It... We Put People First

Heart disease strikes someone in the U.S. about once every 42 seconds. It is estimated that more than 85.6 million Americans have some form of cardiovascular disease.

The newest research also shows that many factors that contribute to heart health are also linked to hearing health. That's a powerful reminder that Hearing Care is Health Care™.

While heart disease, like hearing loss, is associated with increasing age, people of all ages can benefit from lifestyle changes that lower their risk factors. It's never too late – or too early – to make lifestyle changes that will improve your heart and hearing health.

The following tips are gathered from a variety of health and wellness sources and represent a sampling of the expert advice that is available to help you develop a healthier lifestyle.


First things first 

The first step in any wellness plan begins with a phone call to your doctor to check your risk factors: blood pressure, weight, cholesterol and blood sugar. By determining your personal risk for heart disease, you can discuss with your doctor which healthy steps you should take towards a healthier heart.


Check your hearing

The Better Hearing Institute recommends including hearing checks as part of your routine physical exams. Studies show that the negative influence of impaired cardiovascular health on both the peripheral and central auditory system has the potential to affect an individual's capacity to hear. Conversely, a healthy cardiovascular system - heart, arteries and veins - has a positive effect on hearing. The link between heart health and hearing health is further reinforced by a study in The Laryngoscope that concluded patients with certain types of low-frequency hearing loss should be regarded as at risk for cardiovascular events. 

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Heart healthy nutrition

Reduce saturated fats

Take simple steps to limit the saturated fats in your diet. When cooking, cut down on the butter, margarine and shortening you use. Opt for low-fat substitutes such as low-fat yogurt instead of butter on your baked potato or fruit spread instead of margarine on your toast. Check ingredients on food labels before you buy. Avoid trans fats that may be present in foods such as crackers, cookies and chips. Polyunsaturated fats, found in nuts and seeds and monounsaturated fats, such as olive oil or canola oil, are also good choices for a heart healthy diet. But remember, all types of fat are high in calories.

Portion control

Keeping track of the proper serving sizes and the number of portions you eat will increase your ability to control calories, fat, and cholesterol. Think twice before reaching for seconds and be cautious when eating out. Restaurant portions are often larger than you need to feel satisfied. Increase your enjoyment and decrease portion sizes by chewing slowly and putting your fork down between bites.


Exercise for heart health

High-tech motivators

While scientific evidence that smartphone applications and wearable sensors are effective in reducing risk factors for heart disease and stroke is limited, they do show potential to help you make healthier lifestyle choices. Self-monitoring is a key facet of changing behavior to prevent and manage heart health. Smartphone apps and activity trackers, including inexpensive pedometers, have the potential to encourage positive change.

Check out the world's first HearingFitness App™

Lighten up

Excess weight increases the heart's work. It raises blood pressure and blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels, lowers HDL ("good") cholesterol levels and can make you more likely to develop diabetes. A study in the American Journal of Medicine also showed a significant relationship between low levels of physical activity, obesity and hearing loss. The good news; by losing even as few as 10 pounds, you can lower your heart disease risk. Experts agree that a combination of healthy eating and moderate exercise increases your chance of reaching and maintaining a healthy weight.


Engage in heart healthy behaviors

Go to sleep!

Sleep deprivation can make you more prone to hypertension, diabetes, and other risk factors because it can increase inflammation – a key factor in the development of heart disease. If you're not getting the required 7 ½ to 8 ½ hours of sleep per night, you may be more prone to hypertension, diabetes and other risk factors in the development of heart disease. Researchers at Baptist Health South Florida found that people who slept 8 hours were more than 1.6 times more likely to eat an ideal diet, 1.7 times more likely to have an ideal BMI, 1.3 times more likely to have ideal blood pressure and 2.4 times more likely to get enough physical activity, compared to those who slept less than 6 hours. Set a consistent bedtime and stick to it. Jot your worries on a notepad and let them go. If all else fails, a warm bath before bedtime seems to work on adults as well as children.

Laugh out loud

A good laugh can do you and your heart a lot of good. Cardiologists at the University of Maryland Medical Center reported that laughter, along with an active sense of humor, may help protect against a heart attack. Their study found that people with heart disease were 40 percent less likely to laugh in a variety of situations compared to people of the same age without heart disease. It's no secret that laughter lowers stress and helps build positive attitudes. If you can't muster a belly laugh, a smile may do. Harvard researchers found that men with the most positive attitudes were half as likely to experience heart problems as those who were more negative.

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Check out the following websites for more heart healthy support and advice:

American Heart Association

National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Mayo Clinic

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