About High Blood Pressure and Circulation
High blood pressure is not an uncommon condition, especially in the United States, and can be seen in about 1 out of every 3 adults over the age of 20. High blood pressure (also known as hypertension) occurs when the force of blood coursing through your vessels is too high. High blood pressure is often associated with plaque buildup in arteries, and increased levels of bad cholesterol (LDL cholesterol) in the body. When plaque builds up in the walls of blood vessels, it limits the blood flow in that region due to a smaller space for flow. As a result, decreased circulation in your feet and legs can occur and result in a condition known as peripheral arterial disease (PAD). This poses a serious health problem for the areas affected and needs to be addressed.
How Does This Affect My Feet?
The foot is the farthest part of the body from the heart and is a concern for people with high blood pressure or decreased circulation. When a part of the body does not receive adequate blood, it does not receive the nutrients it needs to stay alive, and starts to die as a result. In the legs and feet, a lack of proper blood supply can lead to the formation of open wounds (ulcers), cause death of the tissues in your foot (necrosis), and potentially lead to amputation of the affected toes or limb.
What Should I Look Out For?
There are several things to be on the lookout for if you have high blood pressure and are concerned about poor circulation. The following are a list of some signs and symptoms of poor circulation in your feet and legs:
- Loss of hair on the toes and top of the foot
- Changes in the temperature and/or color of your feet (are they cold? warm? red-pink? blue?)
- An open sore on your leg or foot (ulcer)
- Leg and foot cramping
- Burning feet, feelings of tingling or numbness in your feet
- Swollen feet
- Thin and shiny appearance of the skin on your feet
When You Should See a Podiatrist
If you were diagnosed with high blood pressure or are experiencing any of the previously mentioned issues, you should schedule an appointment to see a podiatrist. Having high blood pressure and/or decreased circulation can lead to additional problems in the foot and ankle, and may show up in the foot first before other parts of the body. When visiting your podiatrist, it is essential to tell them any blood pressure medications you are currently taking.
If you or someone you know is currently being treated for high blood pressure, and are concerned about your foot health, please do not hesitate to schedule an appointment with Dr. Gary N. Friedlander or Dr. Jay C. Larson at Sole Foot and Ankle Specialists in Glendale, Arizona and have all of your treatment options explained to you.