February is National Heart Month, and the CDC’s Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention has aptly named its 2021 campaign: “Feeling the Pressure?” High blood pressure has a direct connection to the health of your feet. At Patrick Fettinger, DPM, we want to take this opportunity to inform our Fairfield County patients about ways you can control blood pressure to protect your feet and the rest of your body.
Your Heart and Your Feet
Often elevated blood pressure is linked to the buildup of plaque in your blood vessels. It can impede your circulation and lead to peripheral arterial disease (PAD); when there is a decrease in blood flow to your legs and feet, your risk for wounds and ulcers that don’t heal increases. These wounds can become infected and even result in amputation.
Podiatric Signs of Hypertension
Your feet can offer clues that show hypertension is present. These include:
- Sores on your feet or legs that are slow to heal.
- Cramping in your legs or feet, especially noticeable when exercising
- Changes in skin color or temperature in your feet
- Loss of hair on your toes and legs
If you notice one or more of these symptoms, it’s important that our podiatrist, Dr. Patrick J. Fettinger, examine your feet. Contact our New Fairfield (203-746-9660) or Middlebury (203-598-0357) office to make an appointment.
Preventing High Blood Pressure
Fortunately, you can make several lifestyle choices that will reduce your risk of developing hypertension and lower blood pressure if your blood pressure elevates. These include:
Watch Your Diet—You can enjoy delicious menus and protect heart health by following some simple guidelines. Limiting your sodium intake, eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, increasing your fiber and potassium intake, choosing lean proteins, and limiting saturated fats and processed foods will all help.
Stay Physically Active—Regular exercise helps control weight and decreases stress—two key factors in keeping blood pressure where it needs to be.
Get Enough Sleep—Your blood pressure goes down when you sleep. Experts recommend getting at least seven hours a night. Turn off televisions and ambient lights in your bedroom and make sure the temperature is comfortable for sleeping.
Quit Smoking—Smoking increases your risk of heart disease and further impedes circulation.
If you have additional questions about high blood pressure and your feet’ health, contact us today.