Your circulatory system is responsible for delivering blood, oxygen, and essential nutrients throughout the body. Poor blood circulation indicates that blood flow to a specific body part has been reduced or hampered. Poor circulation is most common in your extremities, such as legs and arms.
Have you ever experienced leg cramps once you lay down at night? Or felt extremely tired for no apparent reason?
Poor blood flow is often the cause of sudden cramps and fatigue, but it often goes undiagnosed. However, it is essential to take into consideration that poor circulation can be a sign of severe underlying issues such as heart disease, diabetes, or chronic venous disorders like varicose veins, so detecting it on time and getting it treated is crucial.
Here are 5 unmistakable signs of poor circulation to help you treat it in time:
Symptoms of Poor Circulation in legs and overall body
Arm and leg cramps are one of the most common symptoms of poor blood circulation.
When blood circulation is poor, sufficient blood doesn’t reach the tissues and muscles, resulting in stiffness and cramps. As the blood flow lessens, the cramps start getting more severe.
Another symptom of poor circulation is heaviness in your legs.
As the veins fail to push blood back up to the heart, blood starts to pool in your lower legs, creating a heavy feeling. The feeling worsens as the day progresses, and by bedtime, moving the legs feels like a chore.
Numbness is a clear sign of poor blood flow to a particular region. It’s an indicator of arterial or venous issues affecting your nerves. The reason could be as simple as magnesium, B12 deficiency, or something more serious like diabetes.
If your fingers or feet often feel numb, you should consult your physician.
If you notice swelling in your feet or ankles, it could be a sign of poor blood circulation.
Poor circulation can lead to fluid collecting in certain parts of the body. This is known as edema, and it often develops in the legs, ankles, and feet.
It can occur when the heart cannot pump a sufficient amount of blood throughout the body.
Do your hands and feet constantly feel cold? Do they hurt and turn blue sometimes?
This could be a symptom of an issue with your circulatory system or nerves. However, if it is a sign of a blood circulation problem, then it is likely due to an arterial issue.
Proper arterial blood flow is responsible for the body’s temperature regulation. So you need to speak with your doctor about these chilly fingers and toes.
How to Improve Blood flow?
Improving blood circulation is a process that includes minor lifestyle and dietary changes.
Increase cardiovascular exercise
We can’t stress the importance and effectiveness of exercise in keeping the circulatory system healthy and improving blood circulation.
Cardiovascular exercises like running, bicycling, and walking help increase blood circulation in the legs and other body parts.
Drink black or green tea
A few changes in your dietary habits can considerably improve blood circulation.
Antioxidants in black and green tea help widen the width of blood vessels, allowing blood to flow more easily.
Dry Brush/ Massage your body
Increase blood circulation with this simple technique. Before taking a bath, take a dry brush and brush your skin in long upward strokes to boost your circulation.
Massaging can also stimulate smooth blood flow. Start at your feet and move up to your heart.
It’s no secret that smoking is harmful to health. But the extent of the damage smoking does to your circulatory system is still unknown to many people.
Smoking can obstruct blood flow, destroy blood vessel walls, and cause plaque to accumulate in the veins. Therefore, the sooner you quit smoking, the sooner your blood circulation will improve.
Stress is a major cause of poor blood circulation and poor heart health. In addition, chronic issues like hypertension can worsen over time with increased stress levels.
Meditation, music, walking, and yoga are proven tools to reduce stress and maintain your heart health.
How to Treat Poor Blood Circulation in Legs and Feet?
Being closest to gravity and farthest from the heart, the veins in our legs have to work harder to pump the blood back to the heart. This can take a toll on the legs’ muscles, veins, and tissues (venous circulatory system). So naturally, our legs and feet are the most susceptible to blood circulation problems.
The extra pressure on the leg veins can eventually lead to damaged vein walls and valves, thus increasing the likelihood of venous disorders. But you can boost blood circulation in the legs and feet. Here’s how:
Wear Compression Stockings
Compression socks apply graduated pressure to your legs to help blood vessels push blood through the body up to your heart. They can also help reduce swelling and pain in the feet.
Medical compression stockings are also a great way to prevent your venous condition from worsening over time.
Elevate Your Legs
After a long day, elevating your legs gives your venous circulatory system much-needed rest. When you elevate your legs, blood easily flows up to the heart without exertion, giving relief to your exhausted veins.
This is a great way to improve blood circulation after sitting or standing for long hours.
Disorders caused by poor blood circulation are easier to treat when detected early. Hence, it’s vital that you understand and identify signs of poor circulation and contact your doctor immediately.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. What happens if blood circulation is poor?
Ans: Poor circulation can lead to various venous disorders, such as varicose veins and deep vein thrombosis. If left untreated, these conditions can worsen and even become potentially life-threatening.
Q2. What is the best exercise to improve circulation?
Ans: Aerobic exercises are best for improving blood circulation. Running, dancing, bicycling, walking, boxing, and team sports games are excellent examples of aerobic exercises.
Q3. What does bad circulation feel like?
Ans: Bad circulation is often easy to detect. Pain, heaviness, tingling, numbness, and swelling are indicators of poor blood circulation.
Q4. Does lying down help circulation?
Ans: Yes, lying down reduces the pressure on your veins and can therefore help your blood circulation. However, elevating your legs above the level of your heart is an even better posture and can boost the flow of blood back up to your heart quickly and efficiently.