The circulation system in your body functions to send oxygen, blood, and nutrients to your body which helps keep your organs functioning properly. Whenever your blood flow is cut off or reduced, you suffer symptoms of poor circulation, and your system is not working correctly.
Poor circulation results from underlying health issues, and getting to the root cause is the best way to prevent it from occurring.
Some of the common causes of poor circulation stem from diabetes, heart conditions, and obesity. However, it isn’t a medical condition but rather a symptom of something else going on in your body.
When you have poor circulation, you may find yourself experiencing some pain and discomfort, which could lead to more severe medical issues.
Below, you will find the most common signs of poor circulation, what the cause may be, and how you can treat the symptom.
Cold Hands and Feet
One sign you may notice has consistent cold hands and feet. When you have less blood traveling to these extremities in your body, they become chilly since they are the furthest from your heart.
As a result, you may feel cold even when the rest of your body is at an average temperature.
Many people will wear fuzzy socks or slippers or put on gloves to try and warm up those areas of the body. But unfortunately, this doesn’t address the issue of poor circulation.
Numbing or Tingling Sensation
You’ve heard of the term “dead arm” after falling asleep with your arm at an odd angle or above your head. Many people call it “pins and needles”, when they have that feeling where a limb has fallen asleep, almost like your hand or foot isn’t working at all.
However, experiencing this feeling when you haven’t been laying on a body part for too long or you’ve just been sitting in a normal position may be a sign of poor circulation.
If you go to grab something and feel tingling in your fingers or get up to walk and feel your feet have pins and needles, consider that you are suffering from poor circulation and take note.
Swelling or Edema
Blood clots can occur as a cause of poor circulation, with blood building up that blocks a vessel. As a result, you may notice that your arms, hands, feet, or legs are swelling in size. Edema is the buildup of fluids in your limbs and causes swelling in the hands, legs, or feet.
Blood clots can cause damage to the blood vessels. Water pills can sometimes help treat Edema, but there may be a more severe problem with your health if you find your extremities are often swelling.
With its primary focus on the legs, varicose veins are a telltale sign of poor circulation. Your veins tend to bulge with more blood because they aren’t working correctly to carry your blood. As a result, you will often see lines of purple-blue color on your skin.
Too much sitting or standing can result in varicose veins. While it’s not too severe a problem, it can cause pain, leg heaviness, irritation, and muscle cramps.
Cramps can sometimes worsen when your body isn’t supplying enough blood and oxygen. In addition, you may feel tightness in your buttocks, calves, or thighs.
Slower Healing Injuries
Your circulation system is a crucial part of the wound-healing process. So, when you become injured, your blood quickly carries more oxygen and nutrients to the damaged tissue to help repair it.
When your circulation is compromised, you may notice that the healing doesn’t happen as fast. When a wound takes longer to heal, there is a greater risk of infection.
Some other common causes of poor circulation may include fatigue due to reduced blood flow, brittle nails, and skin discoloration. But, again, it is up to you to understand when you are suffering from poor circulation so that you can work with your doctor to treat it.
What To Do For Poor Circulation
Your first line of defense when you suffer from a symptom of poor circulation in the legs is to reach out to your doctor and schedule an examination. You should ensure that there is no worsening health problem that could result in a severe outcome, such as a stroke or heart attack.
Your doctor may look for where you are experiencing your pain, swelling, or numbness and possibly order tests. The tests may include an antibodies blood test, a CT scan, a blood sugar test, blood pressure test, or other blood tests to determine if there is a condition or blood clot.
There are some things you can do for yourself in the meantime at home.
But, first, you can try any of these helpful tips to work on improving your circulation, which include:
- Exercise - Movement is helpful to keep the blood flowing throughout your body. Any activity you can add to your routine is beneficial, such as walking for twenty minutes a day, adding some cardio, or even waist training exercises.
- Diet - What you eat can affect your circulation as well. For example, certain foods with more fat can cause buildup in the body and make it more challenging for blood to flow. You may want to get a referral from your doctor to speak to a nutritionist or dietician to get assistance with the proper foods to eat (and stay away from).
- Compression Socks for Women - Swollen legs and tired feet can help reduce pain and inflammation. They apply specific amounts of pressure to your legs and help maintain blood flow to minimize discomfort.
- Massage - Getting a massage on the areas where you are experiencing a reduced blood flow can also help to increase it. Massage facilitates circulation by creating pressure and releasing it to allow new blood to flow into the area of your body.
Understand Poor Circulation and Treatment
You can take other helpful measures depending on your lifestyle, such as quitting smoking or limiting your alcohol intake. Work with your doctor or specialist to put an effective treatment plan in place. They can evaluate your habits and lifestyle and help you develop a way to help make changes that will improve your circulation.
Be sure to discuss any potential signs and issues you may be having from poor circulation with your doctor. There is a possibility of an underlying medical condition that needs to be addressed, and untreated health problems can lead to more severe outcomes.
Sylvia Silverstone is a passionate writer who loves to share her knowledge and expertise on a wide range of topics, including beauty, life hacks, entertainment, health, news, and money. With a keen eye for detail and a talent for storytelling, Sylvia's engaging writing style keeps readers coming back for more.