Your Podiatrist at
High Blood Pressure
The podiatrist and cardiovascular ailments
As a member of the health care team, your podiatrist is vitally concerned about hypertension (high blood pressure) and vascualr disease (heart and circulatory problems).
There are several reasons for this concern. First, because you are a patient, your podiatrist is interested in all aspects of your health and your treatment program. Second, your podiatrist supports the goals of high blood pressure detection, treatment, and control. Your podiatrist should know if you have any of the following cardiovascualr or related conditions.
Hypertension and/or cardiovascular disease -- Hypertension sometimes causes decreased circulation. A careful examination is required to determine if there is lower than normal temprature in any of the extremities, or absence of normal skin colofation, or diminished pulse in the feet. The concern here is that these are signs of arterial insurriciency (reduced blood flow). Increased or periodic swelling in the lower extremities is important because it amy mean that hypertension jhas contributed to heart disease.
Rheumatic heart disease -- Persons who have had rheumatic heart disease must be protected with prophylactic antibiotics prior to any surgical intervention. If you take medication for this condietion, tell your podiatrist. Any medication you may be taking for high blood pressure, a heart condition, or any other reason should be reported to the podiatrist to ensure that it does not conflict with medication that might be prescribed in the treatment of your feet.
Diabetes -- This condition frequently affects the smaller arteries, resulting in diminished circulation and decreased sensation in the extremities. Let your podiatrist know if you have ever been told that you have diabetes, partifularly if you are taking medication or insulin for this condition.
Ulceration -- Open sores that do not heal or heal very slowley may be symptoms of certain anemias, including sickle cell disease. Or they may be due to hypertention or ecertain inflammatory conditions of the blood vessels. Your podiatrist is ont he alert for such conditions, but be sure to mention if you have ever had this problem.
Swollen Feet -- Persistent swelling of one or both feet may be due to kidney, heart, or circulatory problems.
Burning Feet -- Although it can have a number or causes, a burning sensation of the feet is frequently caused by diminished circulation.
Control of High Blood Pressure --
High blood pressure is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can cause fatal strokes and heart disease. As a health care provider, your podiatrist assists in controlling this public health problem.
There are three major areas in which he or she provides this important public service:
Detection -- The podiatrist routinely takes every patient's blood pressure and determines if it is elevated.
Treatment -- After confirming that blood pressure is elevated, and making this information part of each patient's record, the podiatrist refers all patients with elevated blood pressure to their physicians for evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment.
Long-Term Control -- By encouraging patients during every visit to adhere to treatment, and by monitoring reductions in blood pressure, side effects of treatment, and referring for re-evaluation as needed, the podiatrist facilitates long-term control.