Circulation is the movement of blood through the vessels of the body thanks to our heart. It's this circulation system that is responsible for sending blood, oxygen and nutrients to our bodies organs, tissues and cells and getting rid of the waste including carbon dioxide.
When blood flow is reduced or restricted in any area, your body may suffer as a result! Most people with restricted blood flow, or poor circulation will feel it first in their hands and feet. This is because your hands and feet are the furthest parts for the blood to reach.
Poor circulation isn't actually a condition itself, but a result of other underlying issues. This is why it's important to get to the actual root of the problem rather than bandaging the symptoms.
What are the symptoms?
The main symptoms include:
- numbest and tingling in the lower extremities
- muscle cramps
- cold hands and feet
- swelling in the lower extremities
What are the causes of poor circulation?
The most common causes of poor circulation include diabetes, heart conditions, and obesity. The list doesn't stop here however. Conditions that can reduce your blood flow include:
- Atherosclerosis: This is essentially when there is a plaque build up (fat and cholesterol) that clogs the arteries restricts blood flow.
- Smoking. The chemicals can damage your blood vessels and therefore put you at higher risk of atherosclerosis.
- High Blood Pressure: The pressure or force behind high blood pressure can actually weaken the vessels walls and make it harder for the blood to move through.
- Diabetes: The high levels of glucose in the blood can harm your blood vessels.
- Blood clots. There's a variety of conditions when it comes to blood clots, but simply put, any blood clot that restricts blood flow.
- Varicose veins: This also results in an increase in pressure in the blood which can damage the walls and valves of your veins. It can even cause blood to flow in the wrong direction.
How is poor circulation diagnosed?
If you believe you have poor circulation, ensure you speak with your doctor right away. Your health care provider will carry out a physical exam, review medical history and carry out tests to uncover what is going on.