September 19, 2013

The Meaning of Ankle Blood Pressure


skd239505sdcIn a million years, would you think the blood pressure inside your ankle means anything? Actually it does. According to a study published in PLoS One, it explains how age, obesity, and glucose control can influence this lower limb reading.

Age, obesity, and glucose irregularity can influence blood pressure in the upper limbs. Why does it matter in the lower limbs? It’s dangerous on both ends but here’s why. This study looked at the variable that cause the greatest difference in ankle systolic blood pressure.

First things first. What is systolic blood pressure? When your heart beats, it contracts and pushes blood through the arteries to the rest of your body. Arties carry blood away from the heart, arties equal away. In a blood pressure reading, this is the number on the bottom and should be about 120.

Over 2,800 people were followed in this study. Ankle blood pressures were measured in both left and right ankles after laying down for 10 minutes. Ideally, researchers were looking to see if the difference between ankle blood pressure when laying-down and standing was within 10 mmHg of each reading.

The biggest differences in ankle systolic blood pressure were found in people who had higher age, waist circumference and blood glucose levels. Blood pressure, whether it’s taken on your arm or your ankle, tells you how hard your heart needs to work to get blood throughout your body.

Knowing that your age, predisposition to hypertension, obesity and abnormal glucose metabolism are positive factors for adversely affecting these readings, take it to heart. Literally. Speak with your doctor about ensuring you’re doing your part to take care of your hardest working, most loyal, unpaid employee.

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