Every year, February is recognized as American Heart Month - a time to be aware of everything that affects the health of our hearts. We are a group of podiatrists, but at Affiliated Foot & Ankle Center, we’re not just interested in your feet but in your overall health. We want to help you reflect on how your heart health directly affects the health of your lower limbs.
When most people think about cardiovascular disease and heart attack, they think that chest pain has got to be involved. But it’s not necessarily the case. Symptoms in your legs and feet offer a number of clues as to what’s going on with your heart and blood vessels. These clues include:
· Foot or ankle swelling
· Pain when walking
· Loss of hair on toes
· Wounds that don’t heal
These symptoms can mean that your heart isn’t pumping well. They can also be clues that there’s been some narrowing of your blood vessels, making it difficult for blood to make its way to those places that are furthest from the heart - your limbs.
If your feet display any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor about the possibility of heart disease. If heart disease is present, there are many ways to turn it around, including controlling high cholesterol, keeping blood pressure in check, losing weight, reducing stress, quitting smoking, and changing your diet.
A note about diabetes and your heart health
Dr. Samantha Boyd, Dr. Hal Ornstein, and Dr. Joseph Saka are never short of advice for our patients about the risk of Type 2 diabetes on their feet. We know that prediabetes, insulin resistance, and full-blown diabetes present all the risks noted above to your lower limbs. Type 2 diabetes also puts your heart health at enormous risk.
Lifestyle changes, including exercise and a healthy diet, can greatly improve your cardiovascular health. When your heart and vascular system are in good shape, the risks to your feet are greatly reduced. That’s our hope for our Monmouth County patients during American Heart Month and all year round. If you have any concerns about your feet, don’t hesitate to make an appointment with us at our Howell, NJ or Jackson, NJ offices. Contact us online or by phone at (732) 905-1110.