National Deaf History Month

National Deaf History Month begins on March 13. In 1996, the National Association of the Deaf suggested the week become a full-fledged month, and in 1997, the first annual, nation-wide National Deaf History Month was celebrated. March 13 – April 15 is a time for education and promoting a greater understanding of hearing loss and deafness.
In a study of 18 to 69-year-olds with untreated hearing loss reported significantly higher instances of depression than peers with normal hearing. Research shows that people with hearing loss that use hearing aids are more likely to be optimistic, and feel more confident and engaged in life. Treating hearing loss boosts optimism and confidence and can reduces the risk of cognitive decline due to being able to participate in group activities, and that they’re more likely to have a strong social network.

Hearing issues can include Tinnitus, which is the medical term for the sensation of hearing sound in your ears when no external sound is present. Tinnitus effects 50 million Americans (nearly one in six of us). Most sufferers describe the sound as “ringing in ears,” though others describe it as hissing, buzzing, whistling, roaring and even chirping. For some, Tinnitus is mild and an intermittent annoyance. For others, it’s severe and can have a profound effect on their quality of life. Loud Noises and Hearing Loss — Exposure to loud noises can destroy the non-regenerative cilia (tiny hairs) in the cochlea, causing permanent Tinnitus and/or hearing loss. Noise-induced Tinnitus is often the result of exposure to loud environmental noises, such as working in a factory setting, with or around heavy machinery, or even a single event like a gunshot or loud concert.
Aging — Natural aging, too, gradually destroys the cilia, and is a leading cause of hearing loss. Tinnitus is a common symptom of age-related hearing loss.
Ototoxic Medications – Some prescription medications such as antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, antidepressants, diuretics and others can be ototoxic, meaning they are harmful to the inner ear as well as the nerve fibers connecting the cochlea to the brain.
Hearing Conditions – Conditions such as Ménière’s disease are known to cause Tinnitus.
Health Conditions – Tinnitus has been associated with a number of health conditions, including: Cardiovascular disease; hypertension (high blood pressure); thyroid problems; fibromyalgia and chronic pain; head or neck trauma; jaw misalignment; auditory, vestibular or facial nerve tumors; and stress and fatigue
Thus, it shouldn’t be surprising that 90 percent of people with Tinnitus also deal with some level of noise-induced hearing loss. Moreover, the two often go hand in hand.

Living with hearing loss is not easy but there are some things that you can do to help
1. Use assistive technologies; there are more than ever before different devices to help those who are hard of hearing. These could be hearing aids, Personal amplifiers, Infrared headsets or Telephones for hear of hearing (these are free for anyone who has hearing loss just go to http://www.ftri.org for phone equipment)
2. Don’t hide your limited hearing ability from other people. Asking others to talk more slowly Saying “I’m hard of hearing” is a good start, but “it doesn’t give the person you’re talking with advice for how they can best help you,”
3. Be clear about what you need them to do. You can ask them to look at you when they speak. Also, ask that they not eat, chew gum, or smoke when they’re talking so you can see their mouth.
4. Don’t give up going out or avoiding situations where we have to communicate with others, withdrawing ourselves from family life, and from social situations

Take with your doctor about any hearing loss immediately. Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) covers diagnostic hearing and balance exams if your doctor or other health care provider orders these tests to see if you need medical treatment. Medicare doesn’t cover hearing exams, hearing aids, or exams for fitting hearing aids but there are other groups that might be able to help.

February is Heart Health Month

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. The good news? It is also one of the most preventable. Making heart-healthy choices, knowing your family health history and the risk factors for heart disease, having regular check-ups and working with your physician to manage your health are all integral aspects of saving lives from this often silent killer. So what does that me to me? Here are some tips to help you know about Heart Disease & some basic changes . Remember it is never to late to make changes no matter what your age is

High blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol, and smoking are key heart disease risk factors for heart disease. About half of Americans (49%) have at least one of these three risk factors Several other medical conditions and lifestyle choices can also put people at a higher risk for heart disease, including:
Diabetes, Overweight and obesity, Poor diet Physical inactivity & excessive alcohol use.
The symptoms vary depending on the type of heart disease. For many people, chest discomfort or a heart attack is the
first sign. Although heart disease is sometimes thought of as a “man’s disease,” around the same number of women and men die each year of heart disease in the United States. Despite increases in awareness over the past decade, only 54% of women recognize that heart disease is their number 1 killer.
Some of these factors also include that women often have different types of symptoms

To reduce your chances of getting heart disease it’s important to

Know your blood pressure. Having uncontrolled blood pressure can result in heart disease. High blood pressure has no symptoms so it’s important to have your blood pressure checked regularly.
Talk to your healthcare provider about whether you should be tested for diabetes. Having uncontrolled diabetes raises your chances of heart disease.
Quit smoking. There are free classes to help, these classes can be online or in person with patches if needed free. Ask your healthcare provider or Call Tobacco Free Florida at 1-877-U-CAN-NOW (1-877-822-6669) or the web site at http://www.tobaccofreeflorida.com
Discuss checking your cholesterol and triglycerides with your healthcare provider.
Make healthy food choices. Being overweight and obese raises your risk of heart disease.
Limit alcohol intake to one drink a day.
Lower your stress level and find healthy ways to cope with stress
Regular physical activity is vital. We know 150 minutes each week sounds like a lot of time, but it’s not. That’s 2 hours and 30 minutes, about the same amount of time you might spend watching a movie. The good news is that you can spread your activity out during the week, so you don’t have to do it all at once. You can even break it up into smaller chunks of time during the day. It’s about what works best for you, as long as you’re doing physical activity at a moderate or vigorous effort for at least 10 minutes at a time.

Your doctor can perform several tests to diagnose heart disease, including chest X-rays, coronary angiograms,
electrocardiograms (ECG or EKG), and exercise stress tests. Ask your doctor about what tests may be right for you.

Bottom line speak with your doctor about your heart health, your risk factors & how to reduce them

Starting the new Year

By now, you just want to take it easy for a few months since it’s cold outside, you have survived the holidays & the end of the year when you have to review your part D plan, review your paperwork, and get ready to start the new year fresh. Now it is the time to review your tax paperwork, ensure that you have all your property exemption completed for this year and set up your annual Medicare Yearly “Wellness” visit which is designed to help prevent disease and disability based on your current health and risk factors. Your provider will ask you to fill out a questionnaire, called a “Health Risk Assessment,” as part of this visit. Answering these questions can help you and your provider develop a personalized prevention plan to help you stay healthy and get the most out of your visit & create a screening schedule (like a checklist) for appropriate preventive services that might be needed for that year. And figure out how to stay active inside such as how many times you have to walk around the house to get your lap done instead of doing it outside because of the weather. As your physical body, which needs to remain healthy to have a more enjoyable life, you want your brain to reach the same levels of health, as you grow older. This can help you remain sharp and focus as time goes by. You may not realize it but you can exercise your brain Mind games are activities that are fun but challenge your brain. Brain games can take many different forms and shape. Games that make you think, strategize, and remember information are all games that will help train your mind. In fact, many of these basic characteristics are what you find in many of the games you already play. Thinking, strategizing, and remembering information are just a few things that you will do in games to build your mind. Most cells deteriorate in your brain due to a natural process known as oxidation, foods that include plenty of anti-oxidants can work wonders in slowing this process down. But, instead of going out of your way to make sure that you only include foods with a large amount of anti-oxidants, it is better to make sure you maintain a well balanced diet with all kinds of whole foods. The body is a complex organism and will require all sorts of nutrients to keep it well balanced and to maintain overall body health. Just try to cut unnatural foods and substitutes out of your diet completely. You can find many different types of mind/brain games on the Internet to play on line or download or in books to complete.