According to the American Heart Association (AHA), over 100 million Americans have high blood pressure, also called hypertension. This condition can and often is deadly, as high blood pressure is a leading contributor to heart attacks and stroke. High blood pressure is actually causing an increasing number of deaths every year. The death rate from high blood pressure rose by nearly 11 percent in the United States between 2005 and 2015 the AMA says, and the number of deaths rose by approximately 38 percent — with almost 79,000 Americans losing their lives by 2015.
While cardiovascular disease and stroke may be the most high-profile consequences of hypertension, this serious condition can cause other health issues as well, including foot problems.
Hypertension damages blood vessels throughout your body, including the ones in your feet and other extremities. It usually involves the buildup of plaque in those vessels, resulting in decreased circulation and a condition called peripheral vascular disease (PVD).
The plaque buildup that is the defining characteristic of PVD can reduce or block blood supply to the feet. Without a sufficient supply of blood, your feet are vulnerable to a whole host of problems, including the development of ulcerations (open wounds on the skin) that can necessitate amputation.
People with diabetes are particularly prone to problems with blood circulation in the feet, with PVD 20 times more common in people with diabetes than those without diabetes.
You should visit your podiatrist if you experience any of the following leg, foot, and ankle symptoms associated with high blood pressure:
- Cramping in the feet and legs, particularly when exercising
- Sores on the feet or legs
- Changes to the color of your feet
- Changes in the temperature of your feet
- Hair loss on your legs and feet
When you meet with your podiatrist, he or she will take your vital signs, including your blood pressure, in addition to thoroughly examining your feet for signs of circulation problems. Hypertension can be controlled with prescription medication, and exercise and a healthy diet can also help lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk of the severe consequences of this common condition.
JAWSpodiatry: Your South Florida Foot & Ankle Specialists
At JAWSpodiatry in Hollywood, Florida, we use the most advanced, effective, and non-invasive techniques to reduce pain and speed recovery for people suffering from foot and ankle problems. If you’d like to learn more about our innovative treatments, our skilled and caring podiatrists, and our attentive and professional staff, please call us today at (954) 922-7333 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.