High blood pressure symptoms: Do your ankles look like this? Warning sign of hypertension

High blood pressure is also known as hypertension. Hypertension occurs when your blood pressure rises and stays above normal over a long period of time. Hypertension is often related to atherosclerosis, which is the build-up of plaque in blood vessels, often associated with an increase in a person’s “bad” cholesterol. This condition can also lead to decreased circulation and peripheral arterial disease. If your ankles are more swollen than usual it could be a warning of hypertension.

Swelling in the feet or ankles may indicate high blood pressure, says leading health experts.

Swelling may also indicate the existence of a severe illness such as congestive heart failure, kidney failure or liver failure.

If your feet and ankles swell it’s often an indication that something is not right and it’s strongly recommended to seek medical help.

Advancing Foot and Ankle Medicine Surgery said symptoms of poor circulation in the feet and legs may include:

Cramping in the feet and legs, particularly with exercise

Sores on the feet or legs 

Changes in colour to the feet

Changes in temperature to the feet

Loss of hair on the feet and legs

It added: “Uncontrolled hypertension can also lead to heart disease, which may present as swelling in your feet and legs.”

Blood Pressure UK explained: “High blood pressure makes your heart work harder than it needed to before.

“Over the space of many years, this extra effort can lead to the heart muscle becoming thicker and less effective at pushing the blood round. This allows fluid to build up in your ankles, which causes them to swell up.”

Swollen ankles can also be a side effect of some blood pressure medicines, in particular calcium channel blockers, the charity noted.

The charity added: “These medicines make your small blood vessels open wider and, in some people, this can cause more fluid to leak out of the blood vessels into the tissues. This fluid will collect around your ankles.”

According to Blood Pressure UK, there are a number of treatments available, including:

Diuretic medicines – these increase the amount of fluid removed by your kidneys and this can help to get rid of any excess fluid from the body.

This removes the build-up of fluid from the tissues in your ankles.

If the ankle swelling is due to taking calcium channel blockers, reducing the dose of your medicine will usually help. Or, if your blood pressure is not fully controlled, your doctor may prescribe you a diuretic to help lower your blood pressure further and remove the excess fluid.

Sitting with your legs lifted up. This lets your blood flow more freely and should help reduce the swelling.

Reducing salt intake should also help to reduce the swelling. 

However, if the swelling is a sign of an underlying disease, the disease itself requires separate treatment.

It’s crucial that people with hypertension identify the condition early, as it can lead to a number of deadly complications.

All adults over 40 years old should check their blood pressure at least once every five years.

You could lower your risk of high blood pressure by eating a healthy, balanced diet, and by doing regular exercise.

If you or someone you know is experiencing swelling in the ankles, speak to your GP about the possible cause for this. 

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