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Health and Fitness News

How’s Your Circulation?

How to know if your circulation could use a boost.

Your circulatory system is made up of your heart, blood, and blood vessels. The heart pumps blood. Blood carries oxygen and nutrients throughout your body through blood vessels. Reduce that blood flow, and you may experience symptoms of poor circulation.

Think your circulation isn’t what it should be? Talk to your doctor. Because as annoying as poor circulation is, it isn’t the problem. An underlying health condition is. Treat the health condition, and you should enjoy improved circulation.

Sometimes, you may not know you have poor circulation. When symptoms arise, they vary depending on the affected area and the underlying cause. Read on to learn nine of the most common symptoms of poor circulation.

1: Cold Extremities

One of the most common signs of poor circulation is cold hands and feet. Blood flow helps regulate a healthy body temperature. When blood doesn’t reach parts of your body at the rate it should, your extremities may feel colder than the rest of your body.

2: Numbness and Tingling

Ever sit too long in the same position? You know it because your feet fall asleep or you get the sensation of pins and needles. This occurs when blood flow gets reduced. Someone with poor circulation doesn’t just feel this way occasionally. They may feel this numbness and tingling frequently, even when moving around.

3: Swelling

Another common symptom of poor circulation is edema, or swelling in your lower body. When the circulatory system is too weak to pump adequate amounts of blood, it can be a sign of heart failure. This leads to fluid build-up, especially in the legs, ankles, and feet.

4: Fatigue

Feeling worn out? Blood carries oxygen throughout your body. Without enough oxygen, you’ll lack energy. So when you don’t have proper blood flow, you may feel fatigue. In addition, your heart has to work overtime to pump adequate amounts of blood, making fatigue even worse.

5: Memory Problems

When blood flow gets reduced to the brain, less blood gets pumped to the body, or your blood pressure changes, your brain can suffer the consequences. Common problems include memory loss and trouble concentrating.

6: Pain and Cramping

With poor circulation, sitting or standing for long periods can cause leg pain, especially in the calves. Without an adequate supply of nutrients and oxygen, your muscles may become stiff and cramp up. The pain can keep you from doing the things you enjoy or need to do.

7: Slow Healing

Since blood flow is needed for wound healing, poor circulation can result in leg or foot ulcers. Often these are brought on by fluid buildup and swelling in the legs caused by poor circulation. Unfortunately, these ulcers may be slow to heal.

8: Varicose Veins

Twisted or enlarged veins are known as varicose veins. These often become more noticeable with poor circulation and are more common in people who stand for long periods of time. They also slow circulation, making it more difficult for blood to flow back to the heart. If you have varicose veins, your legs may feel heavy, achy, swollen, or itchy.

9: Skin Changes

A lack of blood flow can change a person’s skin color. You may notice this on a child who’s been swimming in a cold swimming pool for too long. Without enough blood reaching the skin, it may turn pale or a blue color. This is most often seen on the lips, nose, ears, hands, or feet.