Circulatory problems on legs or arms can be mild or severe.
The blood must circulate throughout the organism to:
- bring oxygen and nutrients to the cells,
- Remove waste products and carbon dioxis from the tissue.
An extensive network of arteries transports the blood to the cells, then the blood returns to the heart through the veins.
The heart pumps blood to the arteries at a high pressure. However, when it gets into the veins, the pressure is low because friction has reduced the flow velocity along the distance traveled. In the veins there is a system of valves that allow blood flow towards the heart and prevent it from descending to the feet.
The functioning of the circulatory system depends on the muscle pump at the level of the calf:
- The contraction of the calf muscles squeezes the veins and drives the blood to the heart.
- When relaxing, the valves in the lower part of the veins open and the blood is sucked upwards.
When walking, the calf muscle contracts with each step and relaxes again.
This allows venous blood circulation.
Common causes of circulatory problems
This condition causes narrowing of the small body arteries, especially in the fingers and toes.
The heart needs to pump blood throughout the body.
An arrhythmia is a heart condition that causes an irregular heartbeat, which can be:
- Too fast,
- Too slow.
If the contractions of the heart ventricles occur too quickly and not regularly, the amount of blood pumped decreases. This happens because the ventricle contracts before it has filled up again.
A heart that beats too slowly cannot pump enough blood to carry oxygen and nutrients to the organs.
In this case, there is poor blood circulation.
A heart attack is the death of part of the heart muscle tissue caused by a lack of blood flow in that area.
In this case, the heart can only pump an insufficient amount of blood to the rest of the body.
The result is poor blood circulation.
This is a situation where the heart does not pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs.
The result is poor circulation and swelling of the ankles and legs.
In this rare but serious disease is characterized by inflammation and swelling of blood vessels.
This inflammation causes the formation of blood thrombi (blood clots) and the obstruction of blood flow to the body extremities (hands and feet).
Diabetic neuropathy is a nerve disease associated with diabetes mellitus.
When blood sugar levels are elevated, nerve functions are interrupted.
Untreated celiac disease can cause:
- nerve damage,
- Numbness on hands and feet.
Poor circulation can also be a side effect of certain medications, such as beta-blockers for heart conditions such as high blood pressure.
This condition affects the hands, feet and face.
With acrocyanosis, the skin in the affected areas loses its color and becomes cold and sweaty.
This condition causes a decrease in thyroid hormone production.
Untreated hypothyroidism can cause peripheral problems such as neuropathies and heart problems.
The result is poor blood circulation, especially in the hands and feet.
A healthy diet is important for the body.
The excessive intake of food can cause obesity, which is a risk factor for high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, etc.
Anxiety, stress and depression
The body’s response to anxiety is to pump more blood to the main organs and reduce blood flow to the extremities.
Therefore, stress can cause cold hands and feet.
People with poor circulation often notice that the blood vessels of the skin narrow in winter.
The symptoms are: swelling, bumps, pallor or cyanosis and ulcers in the toes.
Risk factors include:
- Sedentary way of life
- Kidney or lung disease
- Tight clothing
Poor circulation in the feet
One of the most common causes of poor blood flow to the feet is peripheral arterial occlusive disease.
This disease is characterized by a blockage or narrowing of the large arteries farther from the heart and brain.
This usually occurs in the extremities, especially in the feet and legs.
Causes of peripheral vascular diseases are:
- Arteriosclerosis (formation of plaques that reduce the internal diameter of the artery)
- Cardiac problems
- Kidney or liver disorders
- Obesity and lack of exercise
- High cholesterol
Diseases that cause circulatory problems in the legs
Buerger’s disease or thromboangiitis obliterans is a form of vasculitis that causes inflammation of the arteries and veins in the arms or legs.
Deep vein thrombosis
Deep vein thrombosis (TVP) is characterized by the formation of a blood coagle in a vein located deep within the muscles.
Normally, a thrombus develops:
- In the calf,
- In the thigh.
This condition can cause pain and swelling of the affected leg, a possible consequence can also be a pulmonary embolism.
The term phlebitis indicates inflammation of the veins.
Thrombophlebitis occurs when the inflammation is caused by a blood clot.
The term “varicose veins” means that the veins are dilated and become visible under the skin.
They occur mainly in the lower extremities.
Varicose veins can be asymptomatic or cause pain and swelling of the right, left, or both legs.
Circulatory problems in the arms
Causes of poor blood circulation in the arms are:
- Poor circulation in the arms can be a symptom of kidney or lung disease or peripheral vascular disease.
- In the elderly, blood vessels become harder and stiffer. This prevents sufficient blood flow to the body.
- Diseases such as diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and heart disease.
- Raynaud’s syndrome.
- Lack of vitamins, minerals and fats.
- Post-mastectomy lymphedema (after surgery for breast cancer) can cause severe venous and lymphatic circulatory problems in one arm (left or right).
- Being overweight can cause poor circulation in the legs and arms due to the compression of veins and arteries by body weight.
Circulatory problems in the hands
Causes of poor blood circulation in the hands
The main cause of poor blood flow to the hands or other areas of the body is the accumulation of atherosclerotic plaques in the blood vessels.
- High cholesterol,
Symptoms of poor circulation
The symptoms of poor circulation do not appear suddenly, but develop over a longer period of time.
Cold feet and hands
Blood circulation problems can cause cold hands and feet because the blood flowing through arteries and veins regulates body temperature.
Swelling of the feet
Poor blood flow to the kidneys disrupts kidney function and causes swelling of the extremities.
The formation of atherosclerotic plaques in the renal veins can cause swollen ankles and feet.
If you stand or sit for many hours, fluid accumulates in your legs.
Before menstruation or during menopause, the hormones can cause water retention in the legs.
A constant feeling of fatigue can be caused by the reduced supply of oxygen and nutrients.
In more severe cases, this can lead to shortness of breath even with light physical exertion.
Cyanosis means that the skin takes on a bluish tint due to lack of oxygen in the bloodstream.
One of the causes that cyanosis can indicate is congenital heart disease in children.
Women with circulatory disorders often notice the formation of bruises.
Slow healing after infections
Poor circulation in the body can slow the healing of skin injuries and infections.
With poor circulation, all bodily functions, including digestion, slow down.
A slow digestive system can no longer digest food properly and causes a slowing of intestinal movements.
The consequence of this is constipation.
Lack of appetite
Poor blood flow to the liver can lead to loss of appetite and weight loss.
High blood pressure
When the arteries are narrowed due to fat deposits, the space for blood flow is also reduced.
As a result, higher blood pressure is required to pump the same amount of blood.
Pain in the extremities
Often you feel pain in your hands and feet when you stay in one position (sitting or standing) for a long time.
These parts of the body can fall asleep and you feel a tingling sensation in the limbs.
Poor circulation can lead to varicose veins and varicose veins.
Pain and itching in the legs are just some of the symptoms caused by varicose veins.
Although varicose veins can occur in any area of the body, they are usually found in the legs.
headache, dizziness and memory loss
Poor blood flow to the brain causes headaches and dizziness. The lack of oxygen supply can cause loss of concentration and memory.
Sometimes atherosclerosis can cause tinnitus (ringing) in the ears.
Brittle nails, hair loss and dry skin
The blood is used to carry oxygen and other nutrients throughout the body.
Poor blood circulation leads to poorer oxygenation of skin, hair and nails.
- The nails become brittle,
- The hair falls out,
- The skin becomes dry.
Symptoms of poor circulation during pregnancy
Pregnancy causes many changes in the body.
Pregnant women have circulatory disorders as the fetus presses on the blood vessels.
Swelling of the feet and ankles
Water retention, cellulitis and swollen feet are symptoms of poor circulation during pregnancy.
Most women experience dizziness in the second trimester of pregnancy, especially if they rise quickly.
During pregnancy, there is a reduction in total blood pressure, resulting in a lower inflow of blood to the brain.
During pregnancy, many women get up at night as they feel pain in their legs due to muscle spasms caused by poor circulation.
What to do? Natural remedies for circulatory problems
In case of poor blood circulation, one should contact an angiologist, i.e. a specialist in blood vessels.
Smoking damages the body considerably and you should therefore stop it.
Perform regular massages
If you don’t know how to massage, you can simply rub some essential oil of rosemary, lemon or mint into your legs.
Water and salt
In the evening you can bathe your feet in a tub of salt water. This helps to reduce swelling.
Physical exercise is very important to keep the arteries clear and relieve swollen legs.
There are two options: a walk or exercises in a gym.
In general, doctors recommend walking at least 4 minutes 30 times a week.
However, this is not enough for most people with a lack of exercise.
To achieve good results, you should walk at least 2 times a day for 30 minutes or do exercises with your legs (cycling or running).
The best exercises are those in which the feet are held above the heart. But if the ankles are at hip level, that’s fine too.
In my practice, for example, we achieved excellent results with a horizontal bicycle trainer and the leg press within one month of treatment.
The women who participated in the study:
- Were in menopause,
- Had an age of about 50 years and no heart problems.
The program provides 30 minutes daily, divided into:
- 15 minutes bicycle ergometer,
- 15 minutes leg press with a few kilograms (10 or 20).
Nutrition and diet to solve circulatory problems
It is very important to maintain a healthy diet without meat and dairy products, which favor the formation of atherosclerotic plaques in the arteries.
Garlic and onions
Garlic and onions prevent the accumulation of plaques on the artery walls and lower cholesterol levels in the body.
Dark chocolate contains flavonoids that strengthen circulation and lower cholesterol and blood pressure.
However, it is considered stimulating and can have other negative effects on the body. Therefore, it is better to eat vegetables.
Citrus fruits contain a lot of vitamin C (antioxidant) and act as natural anticoagulants.
One should include in the diet:
Chili contains capsaicin, which promotes blood flow.
Olive oil contains a lot of vitamins A, E, D and K as well as antioxidant phenolic compounds. It lowers cholesterol, increases appetite and promotes digestion.
Nuts and seeds
These foods contain a lot of niacin, vitamin B3 and omega-3 fatty acids.
They support blood flow as they are natural vasodilators.