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Can blood pressure be higher at the ankles?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2005
Answered : 436 Questions
As far as Blood Pressure is concerned - can Blood Pressure be higher at you ankles as opposed to your arms (which is the traditional test). I'm trying to establish a baseline to see if I've good circulation in the legs. Also, I'm a diabetic - so proper circulation is a good thing.
Posted Wed, 11 Apr 2012 in Hypertension and Heart Disease
Answered by Dr. Radhika 1 hour later
Thanks for the query,

In a normal subject the pressure at the ankle will be slightly higher than at the elbow.The ABPI(Ankle brachial pressure index) is the ratio of the highest ankle to brachial artery pressure and an ABPI of greater than 0.9 is considered normal .

However, a lower blood pressure suggests calcification of the walls of the arteries and incompressible vessels, reflecting severe peripheral vascular disease.

Arteries that deliver blood to parts of the body below the heart don’t get nearly as much attention as the coronary arteries that supply the heart or the carotid arteries that supply the brain.These so-called peripheral arteries are central to good health for the kidneys, intestines, and legs. They are also prone to the same damaging processes that stiffen and clog coronary arteries.

Since you are a diabetic blood circulation is indeed important.
Poor blood circulation, otherwise known as peripheral vascular disease, is a very common complication of diabetes . Poor circulation leads to serious heart complications, including heart attack and stroke. It can also lead to problems with the legs, arms, and feet, such as numbness, tingling, and slow healing of wounds.

There are certain lifestyle factors that also lead to poor circulation, including:
a lack of physical activity which you should avoid,
2.poor diet
3.poorly controlled blood glucose levels,
4.untreated high blood pressure,
5.untreated high cholesterol.

Hope my answer is adequate.I am available for follow up should you have anymore queries.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Can blood pressure be higher at the ankles? 1 hour later
I accept your answer in principle - but - a ABPI of 0.9 doesn't necessarily mean anything - so - what I'm trying to further understand is: If I had a BP of 127/82 at either arm, what should I expect to find at the ankle? Would someting like 172/100 be considered 'normal' at the ankle? If NOT normal, what should I do to bring it down to a more 'normal' range?

Thanks for your time ane effort - it's been very educational for me!
Answered by Dr. Radhika 3 hours later
Thanks for the query,

If the BP of 128/82 is present in either arm you can expect a BP of 130/90 to be normal.But 172/100 is absolutely not normal.

If it is at that range the patient might be suffering from typically peripheral vascular disease or pump mechanism of heart is problem. To confirm you need to first undergo a complete physical examination by a general physician and undergo some tests like, ECG, ECHO, Doppler ultrasound of the peripheral limb (blood flow detector), Lipid profile.

If it is due to cardiovascular disease you will have to change your lifestyle and food habits.Like taking a low fat diet,regular exercises,meditation.

Hope my answer is adequate.I am available for follow up should have any more concern.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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