Your heart and your feet may have quite the distance between them, but they are heavily dependent upon each other for maintaining overall health.
Healthy circulation to the feet and lower limbs is vital to them receiving the oxygen and other highly necessary factors they need for cellular health and repair. And the healthier your feet are, the better you can move in ways that keep your heart strong.
A Podiatrist Takes Foot Problems to Heart
Why is a podiatrist necessarily so concerned with circulation? Because when circulation starts to be impeded, the feet are usually the first area to start suffering. It’s already a challenge for our circulatory system to cover all that distance to the feet under normal circumstances, after all.
When there is a problem affecting circulation to the feet, we want to be able to identify it quickly, track it over time, and address the impact it can have. We are able to do just this for many of our patients who are at risk of a very common condition: peripheral artery disease (PAD).
What is PAD?
Peripheral artery disease is a generalized term for the narrowing of arteries and the reduction of blood flow to the limbs.
A variety of factors can contribute to this condition, including high cholesterol, smoking, and high blood pressure. It is also possible for this condition to run in families with a history of circulatory diseases and strokes.
One condition of especial concern that is linked to PAD is diabetes. The progressive effects of diabetes and PAD over time can be very dangerous to the feet, leading to nerve damage, a loss in sensation, and a reduced ability for wounds to heal.
By identifying and tracking PAD, we can help determine its underlying causes and manage them in ways to keep feet healthier and at lower risk of wounds and complications. At Precision Foot and Ankle, we are uniquely equipped with the Smart-ABI system for this purpose.
How Does Smart-ABI Work?
Smart-ABI is a tool we can use to measure two important factors regarding your circulation: blood pressure, ABI. It is quick, non-intrusive, and accurate, using Bluetooth technology and comfortable cuffs.
Blood pressure is something many of us are already familiar with, but the cuff used by ABI looks different than the one with the hose and bulb connected to it. It still measures the pressure of blood against blood vessels as the heart contracts and releases, just like a standard cuff.
An ABI, or ankle brachial index test, brings the focus closer to the feet and lower limbs. This is a primary way we check for PAD, by comparing blood pressure measured at the ankle with the blood pressure at the arm. We might ask to test you before and immediately after some walking activity, but the testing itself remains completely comfortable and simple.
By comparing the two pressures, we receive an ankle brachial index number. Lower numbers mean it is more likely that the arteries in your legs are growing narrow or facing some form of blockage.
Smart-ABI is also capable of measuring your body mass index (BMI). Depending on the circumstances, BMI may be helpful information to track and compare to your blood pressures over time.
Smart-ABI testing takes just a couple minutes, with results transmitted immediately to a tablet for our review. There is no fuss and no need to be referred to a different practice or lab for testing.
Let Us Help You Keep Moving
Whether you have diabetes or other conditions that affect your circulation—or may in the future—Smart-ABI and our expertise can help you keep on top of potential problems and avoid complications down the road.
Give us a call at (727) 399-7167 to reach our office in Pinellas Park. If you would prefer to reach us electronically, you can always fill out our online contact form instead and a member of our staff will reach out to you.