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High blood pressure and leg pain

Leg aches, pains and cramps? It’s a bothersome sensation easily be put down to simply feeling our age. 




But did you know that leg pain can be a sign of high blood pressure (or hypertension), a serious condition affecting around one in three adults in the UK? And it’s estimated that half the people suffering high blood pressure are not diagnosed or receiving treatment.

So don’t ignore your leg pain - it could be sending you a lifesaving message to get your blood pressure checked. And the good news is that there are many ways to reduce high blood pressure once you know you have it.

Here we explore how high blood pressure and leg pain are connected and discover how to tackle the problem.


What is high blood pressure?

Our hearts pump blood around the body, delivering oxygen and nutrients. As the blood moves, it pushes against the sides of our blood vessels - the strength of this pushing is our blood pressure.

When our blood pressure is too high, it’s harder for the blood to move around, putting extra strain on the heart and blood vessels. Over time, this can lead to problems including heart attacks, stroke, kidney disease and some forms of dementia.


How does high blood pressure cause leg pain?

In healthy people, the vessels carrying blood from our hearts to the rest of our body are strong and flexible, with a smooth inner lining.

But high blood pressure changes this. The high pressure within the vessels causes small tears which roughen the smooth inner lining, allowing fatty substances passing through the blood to latch onto them.

Over time, this can lead to blood vessel walls becoming lined with fatty deposits, known as plaques, which decrease circulation to the legs. The blood vessels to the legs becoming clogged in this way is known as Peripheral Artery Disease or PAD.

What is PAD?

Telltale signs of PAD may include:

  • Aches, pains and cramping. As the blood flow to the legs decreases, your nerves and muscles aren’t receiving the oxygen and nutrients they need. This can cause pain or cramps in our calf, thighs or buttocks, especially after exercise.
  • Leg tiredness. Feeling as though your legs are too tired to walk as far or fast as you once did may indicate claudication, a type of leg pain specifically associated with PAD. It often begins with leg pain while walking, which improves with rest and recurs when you start walking again.
  • Visible changes. Loss of leg hair, discolouration of the skin and cuts, grazes or ulcers that take a long time to heal can all be signs of decreased circulation. And if your legs and feet are frequently swelling, then high blood pressure may have already started contributing to heart disease.
  • Changes in sensation. Cold hands and feet can signify poor circulation due to high blood pressure, and a weakened pulse in the feet can sometimes cause a burning sensation, or numbness and tingling.

What can I do to reduce my blood pressure?

If you think your aching legs could be a sign of high blood pressure, most important step is to see your GP or other healthcare professional as soon as possible to have it tested - it’s the only way to be sure.

Testing for high blood pressure is quick, simple and painless. And if you are found to have have it, don’t panic! Your doctor may prescribe medication, lifestyle changes or both - there are many effective ways to reduce your blood pressure, and in some cases the condition can be reversed completely.

Lifestyle changes that may reduce high blood pressure include:


Your say:

Keen cyclist Stephen, 57, has suffered from high blood pressure and leg pain, which caused him to ride his bike less and less - until he discovered Revitive. He says:

‘As I’ve got older my blood pressure has increased, I’ve also had leg pain whenever I went for a bike ride. It happens to the best of us, but it doesn’t make it any less frustrating. I’ve been using Revitive for over three months now, and my pain level has reduced. It’s great to be back out on my bike again, and it’s changed my whole outlook on life. I feel healthier and happier, and will be continuing to use my Revitive for many years to come.’

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