Proper blood circulation is vital for our health. When the organs get all the blood they need, they are able to function at an optimal level and keep things in our body in balance. However, obstruct the blood flow in some way, and you can expect cardiovascular, kidney and even brain damage.
Improper blood circulation can be caused by a variety of factors, including atherosclerosis and peripheral artery disease. Obesity and blood clots can also cause it, as can alcohol abuse, smoking and eating a poor diet. Luckily, the problem manifests through a variety of early symptoms which you can notice before the damage is done.
Here are some of the most common signs and symptoms of poor blood circulation:
1. Swelling in the legs and feet
Swollen legs and feet are a result of physical inactivity, high sodium intake, PMS, aging, obesity and malnutrition. Of course, poor blood circulation can also cause the problems. The lack of blood flow to the kidneys impairs their function to remove excess fluids from the tissues. In this way, they accumulate in the legs and feet, resulting in the swelling. In order to relieve the swelling, you should elevate your legs above your heart when lying down.
Fatigue is a commonly overlooked symptom of impaired blood circulation, as people often tie it to physical activity. However, if the weakness and tiredness strike suddenly and don’t go away after a while, it may be a sign of improper blood circulation. Sometimes, this symptom may be accompanied by shortness of breath, reduced stamina and sore muscles.
3. Numbness in the hands and feet
If your hands and feet often feel numb, you may suffer from poor circulation. Of course, the symptom can come as a result of other health problems as well such as magnesium and vitamin B12 deficiency, but it’s more likely to be caused by reduced blood flow to the organs.
4. Cold hands and feet
This symptom is probably the earliest and most common sign of impaired blood circulation. Proper circulation will keep your feet and arms warm, but lack of it can lead to temperature changes. The hands and feet are most susceptible to these changes as they’re farthest away from the heart.
5. Varicose veins
The swollen and bulging veins on your legs are called varicose veins, and they’re often caused by poor circulation. This symptom is often accompanied by pain, tingling and discomfort in the legs. It is a big aesthetical problem as well, as it just makes your legs look ugly.
6. Weakened immune system
If you’re often suffering from seasonal flu and colds, you may be suffering from poor circulation as well. Lack of proper blood flow will leave your immune system without important nutrients, leaving it unable to fight bacteria, viruses and germs properly.
7. Erectile dysfunction
Lack of proper blood flow to the male reproductive organs will almost surely result in erectile dysfunction. According to experts, this symptom is also linked to atherosclerosis, so make sure to get it checked out by a doctor.
8. Sudden hair loss
Losing hair all of a sudden can be caused by poor circulation. When the scalp doesn’t get all the essential nutrients it needs to function, your hair will become brittle and dry and start falling off your head. Not treating the problem of time can lead to significant hair loss, so make sure to visit a doctor. You can also massage your scalp with coconut oil (and other essential oils) in order to deliver vital nutrients to the scalp and prevent your hair from falling off.
9. Chest tightness
Tightness in the chest, or angina pectoris as it’s also known, is one of the most dangerous signs of poor circulation. If you experience it often, don’t hesitate to visit your doctor as soon as possible.
10. Skin discoloration
Proper blood flow ensures that your skin gets all the nutrients it needs to stay flexible and keep its color. If the color of your skin starts changing, especially on the face and hands, it’s time to visit your doctor.
How to improve poor blood circulation?
There are several steps you can take in order to prevent improper circulation. Make sure to exercise regularly and eat a healthy diet in order to ensure proper blood flow. Olive oil and rosemary massages can also help, as can hydrotherapy. Avoid drinking too much alcohol and stop smoking to prevent obstructions in the blood flow. You should also drink green tea instead of coffee, and stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water every day.