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Poor Blood Circulation Problem
- What might cause poor blood circulation
- Symptoms of poor blood circulation
- How to deal with the symptoms
- How to improve blood circulation
Poor blood circulation is also known as peripheral vascular disease. It is a group of problems that can cause poor circulation to the extremities i.e. the arms, and particularly the legs and feet. The most common cause of poor circulation is hardening of the arteries (a condition known as artherosclerosis). Artherosclerosis causes a gradual hardening of arterial walls. Arteries are the blood vessels that carry blood from the heart to the extremities. Peripheral vascular disease is most commonly caused by diabetes.
Symptoms of poor blood circulation:
Poor blood circulation causes a variety of symptoms depending on which artery is affected, and on how much the blood flow is restricted.
Symptoms of poor blood circulation include:
1. Tingling or numbness in the extremities (hands and feet).
2. Changes in skin temperature of hands/feet e.g. feet may become cold.
3. At the extremities, skin may breakdown or sores or infections may take longer than normal to heal.
4. Claudication: causes a cramping pain in the calf muscle. It may start after walking, and may be relieved by rest.
5. Changes in skin color. Skin may become pale, bluish, or reddish.
What causes poor blood circulation:
Poor blood circulation is often caused by a progressive blocking in the arteries, usually in the legs. This is known as athersclerosis. Risk factors for developing poor blood circulation include smoking, hypertension, a lack of physical activity and high cholesterol.
The effects of poor blood circulation:
The most common effects of poor circulation occur on the extremities, particularly on the feet. Such problems as infections and sores may develop, and then they may not heal as well as they should. The reason is that the blood carries oxygen and vital nutrients to the extremities which they require in order to function and heal.
Treatment of poor circulation:
Your doctor can advise you to help increase blood circulation in a number of ways:
1. A regular program of exercise.
2. Control of blood glucose (especially for those who are diabetic).
3. Stop smoking.
4. Lower cholesterol through diet and possibly medication.
5. Medication such as anticoagulants and anti-platelet agents can help prevent blood clotting.
6. Angioplasty may be undertaken to enlarge the narrowed arteries.
7. Surgery may be undertaken to use a vein from another part of the body to bypass a blocked or narrowed artery.
If skin begins to break down at the extremities, special care may be required to prevent further problems from developing and to ensure the skin heals properly. Care may include:
1. Preventing accidents and trauma.
2. Wearing footwear that will not cause undue pressure.
3. Proper treatment of corns, calluses and nails so as not to cause any harm to sensitive areas. Also, if corns and calluses are allowed to develop, sores may develop and the skin may break down.
Those with peripheral heart disease should see their doctor on a regular basis for a complete assessment and evaluation of the status of circulation. Your doctor will also be able to give you helpful tips on how to minimize the risk of complications developing.
The information supplied in this article is not to be considered as medical advice and is for educational purposes only.
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