Poor circulation in the feet and legs can be a serious medical condition. It is faced by a growing number of people especially the elderly. The initial signs of circulation problems may seem like a minor inconvenience however they are a precursor to much more dangerous and life threatening complications if the poor circulation is not improved. It sometimes is an indicator of poor blood flow to the heart and brain or another serious condition like clots.
Proper blood flow is an indispensable requisition for a healthy life. The right amount of blood flow is needed for various bodily functions like movement of the limbs and functioning of various organs. Poor circulation in feet and legs can result in many symptoms, which develop gradually.
Poor blood circulation in legs and feet is caused by peripheral vascular disease (PVD) which includes all diseases caused by the blockage of large arteries in the arms and the legs or peripheral artery disease (PAD). Diseases and issues like diabetes, kidney problems, lung and liver diseases, thyroid problems, lack of exercise, obesity, smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels and improper nutrition can lead to peripheral vascular disease, which in turn results in poor circulation in feet.
• Frequent coldness in the extremities
• Hair loss on the legs
It has been observed that the symptoms of poor circulation in legs and feet develop gradually, and the early stages of this condition are characterized by cramping and pain in the legs, buttocks or feet. The pain and cramping subsides with rest, but will recur as you indulge in the normal day-to-day activities. Then you may experience pain and swelling in the feet. Foot and leg cramps occur while sleeping or when you are immobile for a very long period of time. You may also experience frequent cold feet, which is considered as a symbol of slow blood circulation to your feet.
Some people may experience severe and sudden leg pain due to a blood clot, which may stop or slow down the blood flow all of a sudden. This is caused by deep vein thrombosis, which is a blood clot that develops in the deep veins. It is also seen that cuts and wounds in the legs of those affected with this condition do not heal easily. Poor circulation in feet may cause diminished hair and nail growth, and change the colour of the affected leg/foot when compared to the other one. In severe cases the foot turns black, a common sign is spots on the foot and under the sole of the feet.
Natural Treatment & Prevention
Quit smoking, exercise regularly and avoid sitting still for long periods. Eat a well-balanced diet that’s low in saturated fat. Keep your legs and feet warm, and don’t wear tight socks or shoes. However, on the flip side, compression stockings are sometimes recommended to aid where there is also swelling occurring.
Some Tips to Improve Circulation
1. Get Active
One simple way to improve your poor foot circulation is to become more active. Physical activities such as walking, swimming and running will all help to improve blood circulation if performed regularly. Start off with a steady walk and increasing the pace and length of the walks over time will get the blood pumping and start to open up the smaller blood vessels.
2. Improve Diet
Eating a healthier diet and reducing your fat intake will improve your circulation because there will be less fat in the blood stream which will make the blood less viscous and allow it to flow through the small blood vessels more easily. Increasing fiber in the diet will also help remove fat from your system and improve the circulation even more.
3. Quit Smoking
Smoking is well known for increasing cholesterol buildup within the circulatory system but it also hardens arteries and makes other blood vessels constrict. To have any hope of improving poor circulation it is essential to quit smoking.
4. Reduce Stress
When under stress the body reduces the blood supply to the extremities of the body to provide adequate blood to the major organs. This means that circulation to areas such as the feet and hands will be affected. Some ways to combat stress are meditation, deep breathing exercises, interacting with positive people or maybe even watching a funny movie.
5. Raise Feet
If the poor circulation to your feet is making your feet swell then try altering the position of your feet at regular intervals. Lie on a floor mat and place your feet on the sofa for a short time will help the fluid drain from the feet and when you return to a seated position with your feet on the floor some freshly oxygenated blood can flow into each foot.
6. Warm Water Soak
Soaking your feet in a spa/basin of warm water or taking a warm bath will also help the flow of blood into each foot. Doing this regularly will help circulation through the feet in the short term however it is certainly not a cure for the underlying circulation problems.
Circulatory massages aid with blood flow, ensuring that it is flowing properly throughout the body, aiming to detect/eliminate clots.
8. Electro Therapy
This type of therapy stimulates the nerves so in cases where there is numbness and swelling, it helps to alleviate this.
There are several supplements that help to improve blood circulation. Incorporating some of these into your diet along with some of the other measures above is the best approach to overcome poor foot circulation and prevent any further health risks that may arise should your circulation deteriorate. Poor foot circulation should not be ignored as it is a sign of underlying problems with the circulatory system as a whole.
If you suffer from poor circulation then the time to take action is now before it’s too late.
Your feet mirror your general health . . . cherish them!