What Causes Poor Circulation in the Legs and Feet will cover what causes poor circulation in the legs and feet, how to identify if you have it, why it’s bad for your health, and ways to combat circulatory problems through easy lifestyle changes at home or on the job.
This post is for information purposes only and is not meant to be used in diagnosing any medical condition. First and foremost, it’s important to meet with your health care provider to rule out any disease and to put a plan in place that addresses poor circulation.
What Causes Poor Circulation in the Legs and Feet?
Blood vessels, the heart, and other muscles make up the circulatory system. This system carries blood throughout the body. However, when something slows or blocks this blood flow, poor circulation ensues.
Peripheral Artery Disease
Atherosclerosis, or the accumulation of plaque in the artery wall.
Smoking, diabetes, obesity, high cholesterol and triglyceride levels, high blood pressure, physical inactivity, and the consumption of saturated fats are all risk factors for atherosclerosis.
With atherosclerosis, the quantity of blood flow to the limbs is decreased by plaque.
This also limits the tissue’s oxygen and nutrient supply.
Blood clots may develop on the artery walls, narrowing the inner diameter of the blood vessels and obstructing major arteries.
Atherosclerosis is the leading cause of something called Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD) or Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD).
Both these conditions, atherosclerosis and PVD, decrease blood flow to your extremities which can result in poor circulation.
Exercising, controlling your cholesterol and high blood pressure, managing your blood sugar, eating a healthy diet, and not smoking are all important steps you can take to prevent peripheral artery disease from occurring.
Also doing these things will help keep your circulation strong and prevent future health concerns.
In response to cold or stress, Raynaud’s disease causes the blood vessels and arteries that supply blood to the skin to narrow.
Until blood flow improves, usually when you get warm, the affected body parts, generally fingers and toes, may turn white or blue and feel cold and numb.
Standing Too Long
One cause of circulation problems in the legs and feet is standing for too long without moving your lower body. This can lead to blood clots and deep vein thrombosis, both of which can be fatal. Sitting for too long without any movement might also lead blood clots.
Poor circulation may also be caused by not moving your toes enough!
It’s important to make sure that you spend a few minutes every day wiggling your toes and moving your ankles in circles to help blood flow.
When your veins swell, expand, and become overfilled with blood, varicose veins occur. Varicose veins are blue-purple or red in color and often appear swollen and elevated and many times painful.
Varicose veins aren’t as efficient at moving blood; thus, circulation may become an issue.
Wearing compression socks or compression stockings places pressure on your legs and decreases swelling, allowing blood to flow more easily. Talk to your doctor to see if he believes these are something that may help your circulation.
Other Health Problems
Other health problems such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes can also hinder circulation in both legs and feet. The best way to avoid these issues is through a healthy diet supplemented with exercise at least three times per week.
You should also be aware of any family history regarding these and other health problems and speak to a doctor immediately.
How Can I Identify If I Have Poor Circulation?
1. Some signs of possible poor circulation are numbness, tingling, and pain in the feet.
2. Other common symptoms of poor circulation are muscle cramps, cold toes or fingers.
3. You can also tell if you have this problem by noticing your skin is pale or blue-tinged.
Video: Poor Circulation of the Legs and Feet
Why Is Poor Circulation Bad For Your Health
Poor circulation can be very bad for your health. If you have inadequate circulation in the legs and feet, it can lead to the formation of deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism, which can be fatal if not treated.
Poor circulation can also cause several other health problems. If you have thickened arteries, it can lead to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or obesity.
Diabetes is another possible health problem caused by circulation problems in the legs and feet.
Ways to Combat Circulatory Problems
Through Easy Lifestyle Changes at Home or on the Job
If inadequate circulation is a problem for you, there are solutions available to improve circulation.
Use simple lifestyle changes at work or at home to improve circulation in the legs and feet.
If you’re a commuter, consider leaving a little bit later to allow additional time for walking.
This is a great way to increase your physical activity and improve blood flow.
You can also easily combat lack of circulation in the feet and legs by taking the stairs instead of the elevator at least once per day.
It’s important to make sure that you move, even if it’s just for a few minutes. For instance, get up and walk around your office more often; an easy way to do this is on your breaks and lunch.
If you are standing, remember to stretch frequently by reaching for something above your head so you maintain circulation in the legs and feet with movement.
If you’re sitting, wiggle your toes in circles or move your ankles in circles periodically.
While sitting, make sure that your feet are flat on the floor and elevated by a few inches, which will help keep blood moving and prevent clots from forming.
You might want to invest in a foot frame that will help keep your legs and feet elevated while you work.
Those who suffer from poor circulation in the legs and feet should avoid wearing restrictive clothing with thick fabrics that may constrict or compress your feet.
Generally speaking, it’s best to wear closed-toe shoes made out of materials like canvas or rubber.
Shoes having an adjustable strap around the ankle can be helpful.
Another option to help in combating poor foot and leg circulation is by using a leg or foot massager.
Speak with your doctor about how to improve blood flow with medication or other treatments.
Poor circulation can be treated with medications such as diuretics, ACE inhibitors, or anti-ischemic medications.
If you have any circulation problems, speak to a doctor immediately so they can diagnose and prescribe possible medication for your needs.
Poor circulation in the legs and feet can be caused by several different factors, such as sitting or standing for too long without moving your lower body or having thickened arteries. You can help diminish these risk factors with simple lifestyle changes or medication prescribed by a doctor.
Do you suffer from poor circulation in the legs or feet? What causes this problem for you? How do you combat these serious issues on a day-to-day basis? Share your thoughts, questions, and knowledge in the comments section below!
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