Hypertension: The painful symptom in your big toe that could be a blood pressure warning
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High blood pressure impacts an estimated one in three adult Britons but worryingly is still referred to as a “silent killer” due to its lack of symptoms. When warning signs do arise, they can be easily missed or mistaken for something else.
Though you may not expect it, your toes could be showing signs of worryingly high blood pressure levels.
Gout is a form of arthritis that presents itself through painful, sudden flare-ups.
Though the condition occurs for a number of reasons, the NHS says high blood pressure can be one ailment which increases your risk of gout.
Havard Health describes high blood pressure as a “major risk factor” for gout.
However, even those who are being treated for hypertension can also remain at risk of developing painful flare-ups.
Havard Health explains: “The diuretics taken to lower high blood pressure increase uric acid levels, so the treatment, as well as the disease, is associated with gout.”
What is gout?
Gout attacks are felt as sudden, searing pain in the joints. According to the NHS, the pain can impact feet, hands, wrists, elbows or knees, but most commonly affects the big toe joint.
The skin around the affected area can also become hot, swollen and red.
This form of inflammatory arthritis is caused by a condition known as hyperuricemia, where there is too much uric acid in the body.
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Uric acid is created as the body breaks down purines, which can be found in certain foods.
Crystals of uric acid can build up in joints, fluids and tissues within the body.
This is what causes the painful symptoms of gout, however, it is important to note uric acid does not always lead to gout.
Instead, you may be more at risk of gout if you have certain lifestyle habits or have underlying health conditions.
What increases your chances of gout?
A number of lifestyle and health factors can contribute to the risk of gout.
- Being overweight or obese.
- Eating a diet high in purines. Purine-rich foods include some red meats, organ meat, and some kinds of seafood.
- Eating a high-fructose diet.
- Drinking too much alcohol.
- Having certain health conditions such as high blood pressure, insulin resistance, diabetes, poor kidney function or metabolic syndrome.
How can you find out if your gout is linked to hypertension?
The best thing to do if you are concerned you have gout or high blood pressure is to visit your GP.
They can then run a number of checks to discover whether you have gout and determine the possible cause.
Your GP can measure your blood pressure to check whether or not it is a healthy level.
Having regular blood pressure checks is vital due to the fact hypertension often has no immediate or noticeable symptoms.
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