The heart is a muscle that pumps blood around the body. As it travels, the blood delivers oxygen to the body’s vital organs. Sometimes, a problem in the body makes it harder for the heart to pump the blood. This happens if an artery becomes too narrow. If blood pressure is too high for too long, it can cause serious damage to the blood vessels. This damage can result in a range of complications, some of which can be life threatening. They include heart failure, vision loss, stroke, kidney disease and other health problems.
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Most of the time, high blood pressure has no obvious symptoms to indicate that something is wrong.
The best ways to protect yourself are being aware of the risks and making changes that matter.
Another way of protecting yourself is knowing what the early signs of high blood pressure are.
These can include headaches, fatigue, vision problems, chest pain, difficulty breathing, irregular heartbeat, blood in the urine or a pounding in the chest, neck or ears.
There is another warning sign that lies in a person’s ankles.
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Blood pressure UK said on their website: “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 around.
This allows fluid to build up in your lower legs and 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.
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.”
Swollen ankles develop as a result of build up of fluid in that area. This fluid builds up in there and the lower legs which cause swelling around those areas.
Swollen ankles can also be an indicator of heart disease, kidney failure and liver disease.
Fluid leaks from blood vessels within the legs and ankles into the tissues where it pools in those areas.
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Are swollen ankles serious?
“In its early stages, ankle swelling is an inconvenience but does not cause any major problems.
But, if left untreated over a long period of time, it will start to put unwanted pressure on the blood vessels and tissues of the ankle.
This can lead to problems such as cellulitis (where the skin becomes infected and can lead to abscesses if not treated), varicose veins and venous ulcers,” said Blood Pressure UK.
How can it be treated?
Diuretic medicines increase the amount of fluid removed by the kidneys and this can help to get rid of any excess fluid from the body.
This removes the buildup of fluid from the tissues in the ankles. If the ankle swelling is due to taking calcium channel blockers, reducing the dose of your medicine will usually help.
Or, if a person has out of control blood pressure, a GP may prescribe a diuretic to help lower blood pressure further and remove excess fluid.
Eating less salt, exercising more and having more of a well-balanced diet will also help.
If you’ve noticed swelling in your ankles, it’s important to speak with your GP about the possible cause.
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