High Blood Pressure & Your Feet: What You Need To Know
Whether you call it high blood pressure or hypertension, those important numbers that your medical team checks on most office visits have a direct effect on the health of your feet. Your doctor has probably told you that the healthy range for blood pressure is 120/80 or below (the first number is “systolic”, or your blood pressure when your heart is contracting; the second number is “diastolic”, your blood pressure when your heart is relaxing). If your blood pressure reading is consistently higher than those numbers it could mean that there is a buildup of plaque in your blood vessels, which in turn could lead to decreased circulation…that, is bad news for your feet.
Unexplained leg cramps, cold feet (especially if one foot is colder than the other), or changes in color in your feet may be signs that your high blood pressure has become peripheral arterial disease (PAD). Left unchecked PAD can lead to wounds and ulcerations on your feet that open the door to all kinds of dangerous and even life-threatening infections.
What can your podiatrist do to help? First, they should be up to date on any changes in your overall health and most certainly be made aware of your high blood pressure and any medications you are taking. This is especially important if you and your doctor have any foot or ankle surgery scheduled — they will want to help you get the blood pressure under control before doing the surgery.
If you have hypertension, and especially if there are signs that the hypertension is accompanied by circulation problems, it is more important than ever that you take your doctor’s advice on good foot health practices:
- Take unexplained pains in your feet, ankles or lower legs seriously. Make an appointment with your podiatrist if the pains persist.
- Monitor the state of your feet carefully: look for changes in color, dramatic changes in temperature, and for cracks, cuts, or open scrapes.
- Keep your feet clean and dry.
- If you have thick toenails or have trouble reaching your toenails get someone else to trim them. The safest place to get your nails cut is in the podiatrist’s office.
- Shop for shoes late in the day when your feet are their largest, and wear the right shoes for the right activity (no running in flimsy pool shoes, for instance). Rotate your shoes regularly so you’re not wearing the same pair of shoes every day.
- If you have hypertension and/or circulatory issues make a habit of seeing your podiatrist at least once a year for a checkup — to make an appointment with one of Triad Foot & Ankle Center’s highly skilled podiatrists in Greensboro, Burlington and Asheboro call 336-375-6990 or click here to request an appointment
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