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The Stories Your Feet Can Tell – Heart Disease

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A lot of our blogs focus on diabetes and the implications it has on your feet. If you have read through the health information on the Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists website, you should be familiar with the fact that small blood vessels are often the first ones to exhibit problems when your health is compromised.  The littlest vessels in your body are capillaries and are typically so small that single red blood cells are forced to flow ‘single file’.  Hopefully when you think about this you can realize how any damage to your blood vessels can have serious effects on your body.  Damage to the blood vessels in your legs, feet, arms or hands is known as peripheral arterial disease. When it is the vessels supplying blood to the heart that become damaged, it is known as coronary artery disease and can lead to heart disease.  The vessels that supply blood to your heart, brain, or other organs are subject to some of the same conditions as the rest of the vessels in your body.  For this reason, the health of the blood vessels in your feet is often a reflection of the blood vessels elsewhere in your body. 
Because of the demands placed on them and the smaller structures they contain, your feet can often be the ‘barometer’ for the rest of your body.   Signs of vessel disease can show signs in your feet early.  Things to look for include persistent coolness to the skin, lack of hair growth to the toes, and cramping in the legs after walking a specific distance.  For a more complete list of symptoms that correlate with peripheral arterial disease, visit this link.  A thorough exam by your Austin podiatrist, Dr. Thomajan, will supply enough information to decide if further testing in necessary or a consultation with a vascular specialist.  Don’t ignore foot pain or discomfort as it can sometimes be a sign of larger systemic problems.  When your daily activities become altered, it is time to see your podiatrist!
Until next time, keep those feet happy and healthy Austin!
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