It’s Heart Month, and at Benenati Foot & Ankle Care Centers, we want Macomb County patients to make the connection between heart health and the condition of your feet. An area of particular concern is blood pressure and poor circulation, which can lead to peripheral arterial disease (PAD). Patients with hypertension often suffer from narrow or blocked arteries, which decrease blood flow to the legs and feet. It leads to a host of debilitating problems including:
- Neuropathy—decreased sensation in your feet means injuries or skin disorders may occur that you are not initially aware of, which in turn can lead to infection and disability.
- Open wounds or sores—lack of oxygen-rich blood reaching a wound dramatically slows the healing process. Wounds that stay open have an increased risk for developing infections and are a primary cause of amputations.
- Pain, swelling, and discomfort that impacts walking and other daily activities.
Fortunately, there are many steps patients can take to reduce the chances of developing hypertension or to reduce already elevated blood pressure. One of these is finding ways to manage stress. Below are five tips for decreasing stress:
- Change your self-talk—reframe what you tell yourself in difficult situations. Instead of “I can’t do this,” try “I will draw on the resources I have and do the best I can;” instead of “Oh no, not this again,” try “I’ve dealt with this before, I know how to get through it.”
- Increase prayer and meditation—practice these daily, not just when stressful events occur. You’ll slowly change the canvas your life is painted on to one that has more reserves to draw on.
- Break it down—when a problem seems insurmountable, figure out how to tackle it one small bite at a time. Focus on what you can do right now.
- Hang on to your lifelines—friends and family who support you are invaluable for keeping you on an even keel and reminding you that you are not alone in what you have to deal with.
- Develop stress buster go-to’s—find activities that bring you peace and joy. Volunteer, knit, play with your kids or pets, read, garden, or work on home improvement projects—whatever takes your mind off your stress and helps you re-focus and rejuvenate.
Seek Treatment Promptly
In addition to lowering your risk, it’s important to recognize the warning signs of hypertension in your legs and feet: discoloration of the skin, loss of hair on your feet and legs, cramping, changes in temperature, and sores that seem not to be healing. If you see any of these, contact our Macomb (586) 416-3668, St. Clair Shores (586) 779-6140 or Warren (586) 756-3338 office so that our podiatrists, Dr. Anthony Benenati, Dr. Neil Shaw or Dr. Adam Thompson can evaluate your condition promptly.