How To Recognize the Symptoms of Poor Circulation

by Tim

in Cardiovascular Disease, Diabetes, Foot Care, Healthy Living, Heart Health, High Blood Pressure

The symptoms of poor circulation are fairly easy to identify once you know what to look for. When the blood circulation in the body decreases, the effects are most commonly observed and felt in your hands, legs, and feet. This is because the reduced blood flow is most pronounced in these areas, the farthest in the body from the heart. Impaired circulation, if left untreated for an extended period of time, can have serious health consequences, such as: varicose veins, kidney failure, and stroke. When the symptoms of poor circulation appear, it is best to seek out medical attention as soon as possible in order to avoid the potential complications.

Leg Swelling

The first thing you should do is to look for any signs of redness or swelling in the legs. You can measure the circumference of the calf and ankle at varying points of the day to determine if there is swelling, but there is an easier method.

Simply press a finger firmly against the leg just above the ankle. Hold it there for ten seconds, and then pull it away. In a healthy leg where swelling is not present, the skin will immediately bounce back. If, however, an indentation remains, it is what is known as edema. Edema refers to fluid retention in the lower legs, and it is one of the most prominent symptoms of bad circulation in legs or feet.

Leg Pain

The fluid retention in the legs leads to additional poor circulation symptoms that quickly become more bothersome over time. After a prolonged period of inactivity or standing, the legs will begin to itch and ache. This will then be relieved by either moving or elevating the legs. The relief comes as a result of the movement or elevating easing the return of the pooled fluids into the rest of the body.  Compression socks also do a great deal to help reduce this sort of pain.

Numbness and Cramping

One of the first symptoms of poor circulation a person may actively notice is the sensation of numbness or cramping in the hands and feet. This may also take the form of the “pins and needles” sensation that occurs when blood flow is impeded for a time, and then restored. You may also notice a cold sensation in the hands and feet due to the reduced flow of blood to them.

Wounds and Infections

Proper healing of wounds requires blood flow to the injured area. If blood flow is impeded, as is the case whenever circulation problems are present, the body is not getting the blood flow it needs in order to heal correctly. This results in a much slower healing of any wounds that may be present, and, in advanced cases, the wound may not heal at all.

The open wound provides many opportunities for injection, and many such non-healing wounds do become infected. If left untreated for a long time, this could eventually lead to amputation of part or all of the leg.

Loss of Libido

Libido is a touchy subject for many people, even though it is still an important component of good health; this may be one of the most difficult symptoms of poor circulation to confirm. Normal intimate functioning requires a healthy blood flow, and impaired circulation will significantly impede such function.

Symptoms of Poor Circulation

Photo Credit: Steve Knight

Frequent Headaches

The brain is filled with many blood vessels, and needs a great deal of blood flow in order to function to the best of its ability. When that blood flow is reduced, it can take on many different forms. Memory loss, a lethargic demeanor, dizziness, and a lack of overall mental acuity are some of its most frequent symptoms of poor blood circulation. It can also take the form of severe migraines and constant headaches that come on without warning and obvious cause.

The symptoms of poor circulation do not develop overnight. They begin in a very mild form, and steadily worsen as time goes on. Prolonged poor blood circulation in the body can lead to many different complications that do permanent damage to the body, even to blood clots, which any doctor can tell you are very dangerous. Fortunately, treatment is simple and generally relatively inexpensive, and can in some cases even reverse the condition, especially when you begin when poor blood circulation symptoms first appear. When it comes to your continued health, the effort it takes to improve leg circulation is more than worth it.

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