Your feet are the furthest appendages away from your heart. And you probably wouldn’t know this but they can actually tell you a lot about how well your circulatory system is doing.
Coronary artery disease (CAD) is a plaque build-up of the arteries around your heart but these obviously aren’t the only arteries in your body.
A Simple Screening Can Tell if You Have PAD
PAD can cause pain and swelling in your legs and feet. In extreme cases, PAD can lead to loss of limb. A simple screening by your doctor can often indicate PAD, which in turn may indicate a larger problem.
The non-invasive and quick test for PAD is checking two pulses and the blood pressure in your feet measured against the blood pressure in your arms by virtue of an ankle brachial index.
Normally, the blood pressure should be about the same.
Lower pressure in the feet by ten points or more can mean you have PAD. More generic testing really won’t tell the whole story and can, in fact, return a false positive reading that will lead to more-invasive tests.
No Symptoms Usually Means No Problem
If you have no symptoms of any trouble with your legs and/or feet, you don’t need a test. People over sixty years old, smokers, and those with a family history of cardiovascular disease are more at risk. If you have none of these, you’re probably safe. You should still employ a healthy lifestyle and diet to ensure this remains the case.
PAD isn’t restricted to your limbs but is symptomatic of a systemic problem. Cholesterol doesn’t cause atherosclerosis, plaque does. Taking a statin or other cholesterol-reducing drug won’t clear your arteries or prevent disease. In fact, taking statins can cause serious illness.
Healthy Lifestyle and Diet are Good Advice for Everyone
If you have atherosclerosis or heart disease, there are things you can do to help your body get rid of the gunk lining your arteries.
Regular exercise is crucial to keep blood flowing throughout the circulatory system.
Avoiding processed and fried foods, trans fat, and excess salt and sugar will reduce high cholesterol. Eating fiber-rich, nutritious foods will help push out the crud and help your digestive system eliminate it.
Your feet may be the forgotten heroes of the body, way down below. We must every once in a while remember that they hold us up (no small task) and can even tell us when there might be other serious things going on elsewhere.