February is American Heart Month. All of us at Foot & Ankle Associates of Cleveland want to take this opportunity to talk about blood pressure, cardiovascular health, and how they relate to your feet.
What is cardiovascular health?
“Cardio” means “heart.” “Vascular” refers to the blood vessels that carry blood to every part of your body, from the loops of your brain matter to the tips of your toes. Good cardiovascular health means your heart is pumping efficiently, and all your arteries are doing a great job of delivering blood. Your cells are properly fed and happy.
Hypertension is a threat to cardiovascular health
One aspect of poor cardiovascular health is hypertension or high blood pressure. When blood courses through your arteries, it pushes against the artery walls. Some push is normal. We record it as a fraction – like 120/80. A blood pressure reading of 120/80 is considered optimal. Anything higher may be cause for concern. Consistently higher blood pressure numbers suggest two things:
- Your heart is working too hard to pump blood.
- There’s too much pressure on the walls of your arteries, which, over time, can damage them.
Uncontrolled high blood pressure increases your risk of stroke, heart disease, and kidney disease. It can also damage your feet.
Hypertension and your feet
High blood pressure symptoms include difficulty breathing, an irregular heartbeat, blurry vision, fatigue, headaches, and pounding in the chest, neck, or ears. In your feet, you might experience:
- cold feet
- hair loss, including the hair on your lower legs.
- tingling or numbness
- pain or cramping
- wounds that take a long time to heal
Any of these symptoms are worrisome. We encourage you to report them to our expert podiatrists Dr. Megan L. Oltmann and Dr. Craig B. Frey. We’ll provide a complete foot exam at our office in Solon, Ohio, a beautiful community convenient to residents of Cuyahoga, Portage, Geauga, and Summit Counties. To make an appointment, call (440) 903-1041 or visit us online.