People develop poor blood circulation for various reasons. In some, it is linked to an ongoing health problem, and in others, it is a genetic condition. Whatever the reason, awareness is vital.
There are dangers to not having good circulation around the body. Not only are your organs affected, but also so are your extremities. Your body will take the blood from wherever it is less necessary to protect the most important areas. This can lead to pain and problems with your limbs.
Often poor circulation can be improved. Changes to your diet and the way you work can both help to boost your blood circulation and improve your overall health. You just need to be aware that poor circulation is a problem. You may find these thyroid support supplements helpful to boost your energy and health.
Here are eight symptoms that you need to be aware of. You can’t ignore these, as they could be symptoms of more serious effects of lack of circulation to certain areas of your body.
Symptoms of Poor Circulation
Cold Hands and Feet Throughout the Year
One of the first circulation problems you may notice is that your hands and feet are constantly cold. While this is to be expected in the winter, you also feel cold during the summer months. This is because your oxygenated blood isn’t reaching your hands and feet.
If your fingers and toes turn white and you push on the skin, you may find that it takes longer to get some coloring back. This is a sign that the blood flow isn’t there. It’s the blood that helps heat them up, so the more you lose, the colder your hands and feet will feel.
This coldness will be difficult to get rid of. You could wear gloves, but you would still feel it. It’s not that your body is cold but that your blood isn’t reaching your digits to help warm them up.
Be careful of attempts to artificially warm your hands and feet. You may get rid of the symptoms temporarily, but you won’t get rid of the actual problem. It’s tempting to keep putting your hands in warm water, but you could actually do harm to your skin.
The sensation of cold can continue around your body. Some patients share how they always wear a sweatshirt in the summer because despite it being 40C outside they are freezing cold.
Tingling Sensations or Numbing of the Extremities
Have you ever laid on your arm and then felt a tingling sensation or numbness when you sat back up? It felt like your arm and hand weren’t connected to your body, right? Well, this was because you had stopped the blood flow into your hand. It’s completely normal, and if you only get that feeling when you’ve put pressure on your arms (or somehow stopped the blood flow), it’s nothing to worry about.
What you should look out for is when you get numbness or tingling for no reason. You may just be sitting normally and suddenly feel like you have pins and needles in your hands or feet. Pins and needles can also show up elsewhere, but the extremities are usually affected first.
This another sign that the blood isn’t flowing where it needs to. Your body is telling you that these areas need better blood flow. Look to see if anything is constricting your body first. It could be the way you’re sitting! This is especially common if you sit cross-legged or you put pressure on your elbows at a desk.
If better posture doesn’t improve the situation, then you need to look at other possible reasons for poor blood flow.
Lack of Energy, Even When You Sleep Enough
You’ve had plenty of sleep, and you know your diet is healthy, but you feel exhausted. It’s like you’re just not getting enough energy to burn throughout the day. Rather than it being energy, it could actually be the amount of iron that you have in your body. It could be a lack of oxygen, which is connected to that iron.
Your blood contains oxygen. This is vital for all parts of your body, including your muscles and brain. If they don’t get that oxygen, they start to deteriorate. It doesn’t matter how much protein you eat or how many healthy oils you get if you’re not improving the oxygenated blood flow around your system.
Fatigue is extremely common. The problem is that it’s overlooked. This is a symptom of so many other health problems. Your doctor may encourage you to add more iron to your diet to help create red blood cells. However, there’s no point in having more red blood cells if your circulation isn’t getting them where they need to be! You’ll need to consider other reasons for your fatigue.
It’s not just your muscles that are struggling. Your immune system will also be sluggish. It’s not getting the support it needs, especially if you’re also struggling with eating (another symptom below). You may find that you pick up more common colds or they last longer than normal.
If you have any other symptoms of poor blood circulation, make a point of telling your doctor. This will help to determine the cause right away.
Regular Dizzy Spells or Poor Concentration and Memory
Poor concentration, memory, and balance are all linked to lack of oxygen due to poor circulation. Your brain isn’t getting the red blood cells it needs, so it ends up shutting down. The brain will stop doing the least important functions to make sure the most important ones continue as needed.
Memory and concentration aren’t valued as highly as keeping your body alive. You’ll also find that fatigue makes it harder to pay attention to tasks at hand. At work, you may end up reading documents three or four times without really taking them in. You may need to ask people to repeat themselves, because although you’ve listened, the information just hasn’t sunk in.
Dizzy spells are also extremely common. Your brain needs oxygen to keep it working efficiently. Even if you get plenty of water, you won’t improve the dizziness.
Some people also experience headaches on a regular basis because of poor circulation. They are often viewed as stress or dehydration headaches, but you want to look out for other circulation symptoms first.
Dry Skin, Despite Drinking Plenty of Water
The skin is one of the first areas to show physical symptoms of poor circulation. Even if you are getting enough water, your skin may dry out, becoming flaky and painful. Blemishes can appear even if you are looking after your body.
Your body starts to slow down and doesn’t function as well as it should. The water that your body does have is directed elsewhere to counter the problem with circulation. You also start to retain it in certain areas (more on this symptom soon), so you don’t see it on the surface of your skin.
Using skin creams can help repair the damage, but won’t actually treat the condition. You’re only masking the symptoms.
Look out for bruising on your body. It’s not actually a bruise but the skin discoloring due to lack of oxygen. Rather than blood flowing red through your body, it looks like it has a blue or purple tinge to it. This is very common in the fingers and toes at first and will work up to other parts of the skin. Some symptoms can also be high blood pressure, which is also something you will want to get checked.
You may also come across some ulcers, usually on the legs. They look like rashes and skin inflammation or very dry patches on the body.
Swelling in the Body, Particularly in the Feet
Remember that point about your body retaining water? Well, this leads us to the next symptom of poor circulation: swelling, also known as edema. Your body retains water, usually around the ankles, as a response to poor blood circulation. This water pools and forces the skin to expand.
Swelling is extremely common during pregnancy, due to certain illnesses, and when you’ve been on your feet all day. You’ll need to look at whether poor circulation could also be involved. Your hands may also swell, looking puffy and fat. It’s your body’s way of trying to rectify the issue of poor circulation.
While puffy, your fingers and toes can still be discolored and numb, as well as cold. You may find that you can push on the area and leave dents for longer than normal. Your skin isn’t able to bounce back because of the swelling.
You can’t ignore this symptom, whatever the reason. Swelling in the feet or hands could be a sign of another more serious condition. It can also restrict the blood flow further, causing problems for your extremities. If you’re pregnant, your midwife or doctor will keep an eye on your swelling, as it could be a sign of a serious complication with your pregnancy.
Not Feeling Hungry Throughout the Day
Poor blood flow will seriously affect your brain. Your brain needs as much oxygen as possible. It’s not just your memory or concentration that is affected. As your condition gets worse, other functions will start to fail.
One of those is the signals between other parts of your body. Your stomach may not be able to get the message to your brain that you’re hungry. Rather than eating a full meal, you snack or you eat a small one, because you don’t feel the need to eat any more.
Isn’t this a good thing? Well, not necessarily. If you need to lose weight, it could be viewed as a semi-positive thing. Your loss of appetite will help you eat fewer calories throughout the day. The big danger is that you may not eat the calories that your body needs. You could see a rapid weight loss, which suggests that you’re losing more than fat. You don’t want to lose more than 2lbs a week on average, no matter how overweight you are.
Extreme weight loss or a poor diet can further your health problems. You end up not getting the right nutrients and not absorbing nutrients when you do get them. This can make your poor circulation worse, which then makes brain function worse.
Shortness of Breath or Difficulty in Breathing
If you struggle to breathe then you will definitely want to speak to a doctor. Shortness of breath, tightening in the chest, and other breathing difficulties are signs of many serious health problems, not just poor circulation. You will want to make sure that you’re not suffering a heart attack or dealing with heart disease!
Poor circulation will start to affect your cardiovascular system if left untreated. Your heart isn’t getting the oxygen it needs. You feel this tight squeezing feeling around your chest, known as angina.
This pain won’t always be around. It usually comes and goes, and it can be initially easy to overlook. Don’t ignore it, though!
Speak to a Doctor If You Fear Poor Blood Circulation
If you have any of the symptoms above, you need to speak to your doctor. It could be that your working habits have left your blood struggling to get around your system. Changing your routine so that you stand up more frequently and walk around could help you get more blood flowing to your feet and prevent the numbness.
Those who ignore the initial signs and symptoms run the risk of more serious health conditions. As your brain struggles to get the oxygen it needs, you’ll feel fatigued, dizzy, and confused. You may struggle to hold conversations and remember things throughout the day. As it continues, other organs may start to experience problems, including your heart.
Treating the symptoms isn’t enough. You may get some relief and comfort, but you’ll just be masking the problem. You’re allowing it to get worse. Your doctor needs to make sure that your organs are looked after to avoid serious health problems. With a doctor’s help, you can find out the reason for poor circulation and treat it immediately.