What is poor circulation?
Good blood circulation is imperative in your maintaining overall physical tasks and health. Issues begin to happen when your blood is not circulating properly. One area where it can start is poor blood circulation in the feet. I have numbness in my feet, but it’s not from poor circulation because I’ve had tests done to show that, but it doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t be concerned about possible blood circulation in the future and in other areas of the body. I will be discussing poor circulation in the legs too.
One big reason I keep a check on things such as circulation is because of diabetes. I have mine under control, but I’m always mindful of the things that can happen with diabetes. Poor circulation can lead to many different problems. And it’s usually the result of bad choices we make such as eating unhealthy and lack of activity and exercise. You don’t want a stroke, kidney damage, or varicose veins which all can develop from poor circulation.
Poor circulation and the details
Once you start to experience poor blood circulation, it’s in the hands and feet. This can result from the start of plaque building up on the inside of your capillaries and your blood vessels. With some people it’s just mild with a little discomfort. But when it gets more serious, you can be looking at varicose veins, high blood pressure, a stroke, problems with kidneys, hypertension, heart issues, or other problems that result from the restriction of blood flow.
Your circulatory system is responsible for delivering the necessary nutrients to your cells in your body. When the blood flow in a certain area of the body is compromised and your cells are unable to receive all of the energy and nutrients required for your body to function in a normal and healthy way, then it becomes a problem. Now everyone can experience these problems but it’s more likely in someone with an underlying issue. That means children and babies too unfortunately.
What are some of the symptoms of poor circulation?
- Lumps in varicose veins and blood vessels
- Experiencing dizzy spells
- Having memory problems, slowing of your mental abilities
- Dry skin in spite of drinking sufficient amounts of water
- Needles and pins feeling
- Skin blemishes and blotches
- Possible headaches
- Having some loss of hair on the legs and feet due to poor circulation
- Any feeling of shortness of breath
- Lack of energy and feeling exhausted most of the time
- Pain in the calf that keeps recurring
- A scratch, cut, or sore that takes a longer than normal time to heal.
- Cold sensations in your feet and hands.
- The growth of toenails slower than usual
- Coldness in your lower and legs and feet in comparison to other parts of your body
- Sudden loss of appetite
- Immune system weakening
- Erectile dysfunction in men
- Dark circles under your eyes
- Swelling of your hands and feet
Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD)
Have you noticed that maybe you’ve not been walking as much as you used to? Stop and take a minute to think about the reason for this. Is it because of a possible sore on your foot that is taken a very long time to heal or might it be because you’ve experienced aches of your muscles in your legs? Hmm, poor circulation perhaps?
Well not to alarm you but these could be the “silent” symptoms of PAD, or otherwise known as Peripheral Arterial Disease. Basically, it’s a narrowing of the arteries in your legs. This constricts the blood flow to your muscles.
It can sneak up on you without warning or may disguise itself to you as something else. It’s tricky because even it appears to something minor, it may not be. Never “assume” that something is nothing. Always check with your physician. That doesn’t necessarily mean you run to him or her with every ailment. But this can be a serious condition and you don’t want to ignore it.
What are the causes?
There’s a medical term called atherosclerosis and that is when the arteries begin to narrow and harden. The most common causes come from high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and of course smoking. You’re more likely to experience a worse case of PAD if you’re a diabetic that will get worse if not treated properly.
And the symptoms are?
The symptoms are basically muscle pain in your legs when you are exercising and then halts when you rest. The muscle pain is coming from not enough flowing of your blood. It most commonly affects your calf muscle, thigh, hip, buttock, and in less cases the foot. You can either experience numbness, a burning sensation, or have to pain whatsoever and that happens because your body compensates for the blockages by making new blood vessels that detour around the blockage.
- Stop smoking
- Exercising should always be at the top of the list
- Eating healthy is right up there with exercising
- Controlling high blood pressure
- Controlling your cholesterol levels
- Surgery to bypass blocked artery if necessary (My wife had a blocked artery in her arm and they had to take an artery from her leg to bypass the blockage in her arm. It was most likely due to smoking at the time)
Natural ways to help improve blood circulation
- Get off your butt and become active! Little or no activity is a big reason for poor blood circulation. I’m not taking about running a marathon or going to a gym and doing a full workout for eight hours a day for eight days a week. Walking is easy and doesn’t require much. Walk for thirty minutes a day at least five days a week but preferably seven. Pick up a pedometer for yourself and aim for 12,000 steps a day. Your legs and feet will thank you! I bike ride and I love it. Ride outdoors or get an exercise bike for indoors so you can’t use bad weather as an excuse. Got ya! I tried that one already!
- Try green tea. Green tea is good for you and is great as a pick-me-up. It won’t affect your blood circulation. I drink diet green tea so that I avoid the sugar.
- F-R-U-I-T. Berries and citrus fruits are very high in fiber and vitamin C. These are nature’s way of thinning your blood and increases overall blood circulation function. You’ll also want to add goji berries and watermelon. Why watermelon you ask? Lycopene. It’s an antioxidant that improves blood circulation. It’s also found it tomatoes.
- The proper clothing. You’re probably thinking, huh? Well it’s simple. Tight fitting clothed can cut off your circulation. If you’re wearing tight jeans or socks, they can affect your circulation. How many times have to taken your socks off and there’s the red mark from where the band was holding them up? Too tight, perhaps? And while I’m on the subject, if you’re going on a trip and won’t be mobile for a while (such as a plane trip), you may want to consider compression socks to help improve circulation.
- Stop smoking now! I know it’s easy for me to say that because I never smoked but it definitely cuts down on your blood flow by narrowing your blood vessels. It also aids in raising your blood pressure and this damages your arteries.
- Water. By now you should know how important it is to be drinking enough water every day. Six to eight glasses each day. You have to hydrate your body and the only way to make sure that your circulatory system is functioning properly is by consuming enough of the H2O.
- Dark chocolate. Now my choice was always milk chocolate, but that isn’t the right one in this case. Dark chocolate contains antioxidants (called polyphenols) which improve circulation along with cocoa which does the same. The antioxidants relax the arteries, lowers your pressure and increases the circulation of the blood. Caution though, chocolate has sugar (and calories) so do not have more than one or two squares a day. Check the labels for at minimum of seventy percent cocoa.
- No alcohol. Now I’m talking about improving your circulation so whatever good or bad alcohol may do for you in other areas is your call. This is about poor circulation and alcohol is not a good choice generally. You can at least limit yourself to one or two drinks a day including red wine. Red wine can actually improve your cholesterol levels with the antioxidants that it contains.
- Nuts. Nuts are always good for you and in this case especially almonds and walnuts. They carry healthy plant oils, high antioxidant levels, and protein for energy. Raw nuts reduce inflammation in your arteries. Another warning here: nuts have a lot of calories so a word to the wise is sufficient. Don’t overdo it.
- Salads. They have to be about the healthiest foods you can eat as long as you don’t overload them with high fat dressings and add-ons. Cucumbers, onions and celery contain fiber and help clean your blood and your body. Olive oil and olives have a positive affect on the health of your cardiovascular system.
- Dark leafy greens for your salad. My two favorites, spinach and broccoli, along with watercress and kale. These are so good for you because of their fiber and iron content and vitamin K and vitamin C. Bell peppers have so much vitamin C and they are beneficial for the circulatory system.
- Parsley? When dining in a restaurant and parsley was on my plate, I used to not eat it. Now? I never realized that parsley is a herb that is extremely healthy and great for digestion and the circulatory system. Containing vitamin K, it aids in detoxifying your blood and your liver. Bring on the parsley!
- Herbs. Gingo Biloba has been credited for the improvement of your memory but it also helps your blood flow more effectively and increases blood flow to the brain and strengthens your blood vessels. Cayenne increases blood flow, improves the strength of your arteries and capillaries, and can stimulate your heart.
- Control your stress. We all know that stress is a killer. Try reducing stress through relaxation, meditation, yoga, and laughter. By controlling stress you’re helping your circulation too.
- Know your limits with salt. Too much salt is absolutely no good for you. It will have a terrible impact on your circulation along with many other issues in your body. excess salt hardens your arteries. I never put any salt on anything I eat. But you also have to read labels and be aware of the food you purchase because it seems everything has salt and too much. So be careful.
You don’t want poor blood circulation in your feet, legs, or any other part of your body. You have the power to control this and have your circulation improve. My goal here was to help you be aware of what poor circulation is, how to avoid it, and how to treat it naturally. I hope you learned something valuable and if you did, then I was successful. If you’d really like to boot diabetes to the curb and improve your circulation, then give this a try because it works!
If you have any questions or comments please leave them below I will answer you. I appreciate it and thank you!