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How High Blood Pressure Affects Your Feet

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is the excessive force of blood pushing against the arterial walls as your heart pumps blood throughout your body. This added stress on the arteries can contribute to decreased blood flow and many other serious health risks. While high blood pressure affects your entire body, symptoms can be commonly seen in the lower legs and feet.

The symptoms and pain you experience may be intermittent or persistent. But it’s important to know that early and proper detection will help lessen any long-term damage associated with decreased blood flow. If you believe your feet are being affected by high blood pressure and decreased circulation, contact our foot care specialists.

7 Signs of High Blood Pressure to Look for in Legs and Feet
High blood pressure may lead to decreased circulation in your legs and feet. Examine your lower extremities closely to see if:

  • Feet and legs are unusually colder to the touch

  • Absence of normal skin tone

  • Burning sensation in feet (due to weakened pulse)

  • Hair loss on the legs and feet

  • Numbness and tingling in feet

  • Cramping after exercising

  • Wounds located on the legs and feet take longer to heal

These issues, while not inherently serious by themselves, are precursors to potentially fatal circulatory diseases. If your legs and feet are frequently swelling then your high blood pressure may have already started contributing to heart disease.

Why Do People Get High Blood Pressure?
Understanding the origin of your high blood pressure is important for taking the appropriate steps toward recovery. Your condition may have stemmed from:

  • Genetic predisposition

  • Smoking and alcohol usage

  • Sedentary lifestyle

  • Poor diet and obesity

  • Aging

Untreated High Blood Pressure Leads to Heart Problems
If left untreated, your symptoms can manifest into a variety of heart-related problems. If the appropriate exercise, diet, and lifestyle changes are not carried out to diminish symptoms, you may be at risk for developing:

  • Vascular weakness. The blood vessels overstretch to compensate for the added force from high blood pressure. This overstretching can lead to weakened blood vessels that are prone to rupturing. Stroke and aneurysms are caused by ruptured blood vessels.

  • Blood clots. The overstretching of blood vessels can create vascular scarring. This scar tissue in the blood vessels catches red blood cells as they pass through. The concentration of blood in the veins forms blood clots that inhibit, or block, the flow of blood to different body parts. Strokes and heart attacks are often the result of severe blood clots.

  • Plaque buildup. Plaque and cholesterol buildup in the damaged arteries. The flow of blood becomes limited or cut off as it tries to circulate through the body. Your heart will work harder to deliver blood throughout your body, which will increase your blood pressure. If the plaque or cholesterol entirely block the artery, you will be at risk for heart attacks.

When to Visit a Podiatrist

If you experience any of the above symptoms, it is important to visit a podiatrist. And if you have been diagnosed with hypertension, it is important to tell your podiatrist, because medications that may be prescribed for a foot or ankle condition could interact with blood pressure medications. Also, if you need to have foot or ankle surgery, it is important that your blood pressure is under control prior to any surgical procedures.

Ready for a visit? Give us a call at (913) 338-4440 or contact us online and let one of our podiatrists take a look.  

Tags: foot health,, high blood pressure, blood clots, plaque build-up, vascular weakness