The word circulation has been mostly associated with circulation of blood in your body. Circulation is the process that is responsible for moving of gases, wastes and nutrients to and from cells. It also helps in stabilizing your body's PH and temperature so that harmony is maintained.
It is practically impossible to live without blood circulating in our body. Your heart takes up the role of the blood pump thereby keeping blood flowing to your lungs for oxygenation. The blood is then carried to your organs, and after the blood is de-oxygenated, it is carried from the organs back to your lungs for more oxygen. When this process gets compromised, oxygenated blood is unable to reach all organs causing your system to falter.
Poor Blood Circulation Symptoms
The elderly and middle-aged folks predominantly fall victim to bad circulation. This is especially so in those who suffer from conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, atherosclerosis etc. Bad circulation tends to seriously damage your brain, legs, heart and other major organs.
Blood circulation symptoms include:
- Cold feet and hands
- Feet swelling
- Loss of appetite
- Blood pressure that is high
- Infections that heal slowly
- Cyanosis (bluish skin discoloration)
- Varicose veins
- Numbness (in extremities)
- Memory loss, headaches and dizziness
- Dry skin, brittle nails and dizziness
If you have wounds that heal slowly, have a tingling feeling in your hands & feet, have a bluish skin discoloration then you need to seek medical attention.
Causes of Poor Blood Circulation
Warning: You should carefully check your symptoms for further diagnosis or treatment. You should seek medical advice because the causes listed here may not be comprehensive. Only a doctor can know the underlying cause and provide appropriate professional help.
- Poor Nutrition: This is one of the major contributing factors of poor blood circulation. As a result, your body is unable to get essential minerals, vitamins and elements. This makes your blood vessels exceptionally fragile and prevents proper circulation of blood. Limited consumption of antioxidants such as oily fish, whole grains and fresh produce lead to the buildup of toxins in the body.
- Not Enough Exercise: Standing, lying or sitting in one place for a long time contributes to reduced circulation of blood because your blood gets dormant in your leg and pelvis areas thus causing poor circulation in hands, feet and legs. There are blood clots in certain areas that are life-threatening, more so for those who smoke, those taking medication and pregnant women. Passengers in an airplane should take a lot of water, move about the airplane and wear loose fitting clothes to promote circulation.
- Smoking: It is also a major cause of poor circulation in your body. Inhaling toxic smoke constricts the flow of blood to your brain and heart thereby poisoning your body with dangerous substances and free-radicals.
- Stress: Unreleased anger and stress conditions promote poor hand circulation because knots are created in your muscles especially around the shoulder and neck area preventing adequate flow of blood to your brain, heart and the major organs. You should manage your stress daily; get therapeutic massage, exercise and acupuncture to increase the circulation of blood.
- Atherosclerosis: This is the condition where your blood vessels harden. As a result, your arteries are blocked resulting in poor circulation of blood. This normally happens when the arterial walls in your hands and legs get thickened by plaque deposit formation. Having high blood pressure and cholesterol levels can lead to atherosclerosis.
- Diabetes: This condition can also come about as a side effect of diabetes, smoking and obesity.
- High Cholesterol: Having a diet that is inclusive of high cholesterol may end up in plaque deposits being formed in your blood vessel walls thereby reducing supply of blood volume to them.
- Venous Thrombosis: This is a condition where your veins get inflamed due to the presence of a blood clot in the veins. When you have venous thrombosis, you may experience skin discoloration, swelling, tenderness and edema.
- Foreign Particles: There are times when foreign particles are trapped in your body tissues and cells. This causes hardening the blood vessel walls hence bad circulation of blood.
- Other Causes: If you suffer from a nutritional deficiency, you may end up with bad blood circulation. This is because the artery functioning is affected when your body lacks adequate amino acids, vitamins, fatty acids and minerals. This condition can also be brought about by disease of the lungs, kidneys, liver, thyroid problems and pregnancy. Toxins that enter the bloodstream can cause poor circulation of blood.
How to Improve Blood Circulation
- Exercise: This includes strength and cardiovascular training. Stretch for every five minutes every hour. Take walks after each meal to promote proper blood circulation and digestion.
- Massage: It helps in stimulation of the blood flow in your body's soft tissues.
- Elevation: Having your legs in an elevated position increases circulation and reduces chances of getting varicose veins.
- Warm Bath: You can include some Epsom salts in the bath. They are mineral salts used for healing.
- Healthy Lifestyle: Do this by drinking lots of water, quit smoking and find ways to relieve the stress.
- Nutritional Diet: Eat a lot of fruits, whole grains, vegetables, healthy fats (olive &fish oil, seeds and nuts) and lean proteins.
- Herbs: Herbs like ginger, cayenne, turmeric and garlic will stimulate your heart and prevent plaque and blood clot build-up thus keep your arteries clear. You can add cayenne or garlic to sauces and soups, use turmeric in pasta dishes or rice and use ginger in baked goods or tea.
- Supplements: They have been known to improve your circulatory health. They include Vitamins B-complex, E, C and magnesium and mineral calcium.