Information about the symptoms of poor circulation and help with circulatory system problems.
Select a Topic
- What is Poor Circulation?
- What are the Symptoms of Poor Circulation?
- What Causes Poor Circulation?
- Help for Poor Circulation?
What is Poor Circulation?
Poor circulation is a circulatory system problem that arises when there is limited blood flow to the legs, hands, heart and rest of the body, including the fingers, toes and feet. The blood vessels become blocked as a fatty substance called plaque builds up and hardens, constricting the walls of the arteries and veins. This interrupts the normal flow of blood through the vessels, resulting in poor circulation.
A variety of conditions can be brought on by poor circulation. These may include high blood pressure, hypertension, stroke, varicose veins, peripheral artery disease, heart disease, kidney damage, aneurysms, arteriosclerosis/ailment/arteriosclerosis-hardening-arteries.html, Raynaud’s disease and phlebitis.
The Effects of Poor Blood Circulation
Poor blood circulation can impact the entire body, with its effects felt from the head to the toes:
- Effects upon the brain: Poor blood circulation can impact the brain, causing fatigue, dizziness, memory loss and frequent, unexplained headaches.
- Effects upon the heart: Poor blood circulation can have an impact on the heart, making it difficult or impossible to climb stairs or perform simple aerobic activities without breathlessness. Poor circulation can also bring on high blood pressure and cholesterol as well as chest pain. If left untreated, poor circulation likewise increases the risk of heart attack and stroke.
- Effects upon the liver: Symptoms of poor blood circulation in the liver can include lack of appetite, unexplained weight loss and changes in skin tone.
- Effects upon the kidneys: Swelling of the hands, feet and ankles can indicate poor blood circulation to the kidneys. Other symptoms include fatigue, altered heart rate and increased blood pressure.
- Effects upon the limbs: Poor blood circulation in the limbs can lead to cramps, numbness and the appearance of varicose veins.
Poor Blood Circulation in Children
While adults tend to have the majority of circulation problems, children can suffer from poor circulatory conditions as well. Since the heart is the primary organ in the circulatory system, responsible for pulmonary and systemic functioning, infants born with complex congenital heart defects are especially prone to experiencing difficulties.
Whether or not temporary or corrective surgical interventions were performed for this condition, any defect in normal blood flow can have a significant impact on a child’s physical and mental development, from growth to behavioral and academic performance.
Poor Circulation during Pregnancy
Many women experience circulation changes during the second and third trimesters, which tend to affect the legs and result in cramping. This is likely attributed to the added weight of the baby and subsequent stress of the leg muscles. Consult your doctor if you experience sudden redness, swelling or warmth.
Stretching the legs before bed or before a long period of sitting can help ease common stiffness that leads to cramping. Try not to stay in one position for too long; get up to move around whenever possible. Regular exercise, including mild walking, can also help keep the blood flowing.
Some woman may also experience light-headedness, as blood pressure shifts naturally during pregnancy. Avoid sudden movements like sitting up too quickly. While resting, lie on your side rather than your back. Extreme dizziness or prolonged light-headedness should be reported to your doctor.
What are the Symptoms of Poor Circulation?
Symptoms and signs of poor circulation may include:
- Numbness or loss of sensation or tingling in the hands, feet, or toes
- Changes in skin temperature, such as cold hands, feet, legs, and ear
- Fatigue, lack of energy or low energy levels
- Hair Loss
- Vertigo or Dizziness
- Dry Skin
- Edema or swelling in the feet, legs and/or fingers
- Varicose Veins, Leg Ulcers and Foot Ulcers
- Muscle Cramps and Pain
- Itching and itchy skin, especially on the hands, legs or feet
- Changes in the color of the skin, with skin becoming more pale, bluish or reddish. This is known as cyanosis and indicates inadequate oxygen delivery
- Cramping in Legs, Buttocks or Feet During Activity
- Lower Leg Pain or claudication
- Poor discernment of temperature and pain
- Skin breakdowns, Infection and sores do not heal as well as they should
- Shortness of Breath
- Irregular Heart Beats
- Sluggish memory
- Lack of stamina
What Causes Poor Circulation?
Poor blood circulation and other circulatory system problems can be caused by certain medical conditions, lifestyle factors and behaviors. Other factors that contribute to circulatory system problems are tobacco smoking, alcohol consumption, caffeine, poor eating habits, insufficient exercise and sitting in a cramped position or idle for long periods of time. Being idle for extended periods is a common enough cause of poor blood circulation to have its own name. The condition is often referred to as Economy Class Syndrome/DVT, with the DVT standing for deep vein thrombosis.
Medical Causes of Poor Circulation
- Complications from Flying
- Poor Diet
- High Cholesterol
- Thyroid Disease
- Weight Gain
- High Blood Pressure
- Heart Disorders
- Circulatory Disorders
- Blood Vessel Disorders
- Artery and Vein Disorders
- Arterial Insufficiency/Hardening of the arteries, known as Artherosclerosis
- Intermittent claudication, or cramping results from obstruction in the arteries
- Nerve Disorders
- Blocked Blood Vessels
- Eating disorders
- Food Allergies
Help for Poor Circulation?
The diagnosis of poor blood circulation is typically based on the patient’s medical history, family history and lifestyle. The doctor has to determine the root cause of the circulatory disorder before administering treatment.
Circulatory system problems can be treated with natural products like Native Remedies® Circu-Live™ and High-Rite™, conventional medication, lifestyle changes and alternative therapies. The primary objective when treating poor circulation is to prevent additional circulatory problems, relieve swelling and pain, and expedite healing. Mild cases of poor blood circulation may improve by implementing an aerobic exercise program, a healthy eating plan and a low dose of aspirin.
Treatment can also involve making important adjustments to your lifestyle, such as eating a high-fiber and low-fat diet, exercising regularly, losing weight and quitting smoking.
- Over-the-counter products, such as Native Remedies® Circu-Live™ and High-Rite™
- Over-the-counter medication like aspirin, analgesia and heparinoid creams
- Prescription medication such as pentoxifylline
- Surgical procedures such as angioplasty, atherectomy, revascularization and endarterectomy
- Supplements like vitamins B6 and B12, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, niacin, and magnesium.
- Physical therapy
In addition to the conventional treatment options, poor blood circulation can often be enhanced by increasing the intake of water and eliminating caffeine, alcohol, sugar and refined foods. Establishing a low-fat, high-fiber eating plan can both reduce cholesterol levels and improve circulation.
Tips for How to Deal with Poor Circulation
There are various methods to prevent, treat and improve blood circulation and they include the following:
- Exercise regularly or participate in any physical activity for at least 30 minutes a day. Try walking, swimming, biking or aerobics to get the blood pumping.
- Eat a healthy, well balanced diet that is high in fiber and low in fat; this will ensure that your cholesterol levels remain in check.
- Quit smoking as smoking increases cholesterol, hardens the arteries and causes other blood vessels to constrict.
- Wear support socks or compression hosiery to improve low circulation.
- Take a warm bath or soak feet in warm water to increase the blood flow.
- Keep feet and other extremities warm by wearing thermal or woolen socks.
- Keep swollen feet raised for short intervals to allow the blood to flow through and help the fluid to drain from the feet.
- Avoid staying inactive for long periods, aiming for regular movement to improve circulation. If you work in an office and spend most of the time seated, get up now and then to run an errand.
- Products such asHigh-Rite™ and Circu-Live™ may also provide help with blood pressure and cardiovascular health.