Nearly one in three adults in America suffers from poor blood circulation. Feelings of heavy legs, joint pain, varicose veins, fatigue, and dizziness spell poor blood circulation.
What is blood circulation?
Blood circulation refers to the transport and transmission of blood in the body. It is a closed circulatory system activated by the heart. Blood circulation is essential in:
- Transporting oxygen, glucose, and other elements necessary for the functioning of our cells from the heart to the periphery veins
- Ensuring the venous system transports waste products of our cells, urea, and carbon dioxide, among others,
- The purification of organs (liver, kidney, lung)
- Exchanges between the blood and the cells in a network of blood capillaries, the very fine vessels connecting arterioles (small arteries) to venules (small veins).
Why is it essential to have good blood circulation?
Veins and arteries allow blood to circulate within the body. It is through blood circulation that the organs of the human body receive oxygen and all the nutrients they need to function correctly. Blood circulation is vital to flush toxins and waste products out of our system. Poor blood circulation can affect the venous and arterial systems, and the consequences will differ.
The Poor circulation most often affects the legs, leading to varicose veins, heavy legs, and swelling in the ankles and calves. Poor arterial circulation can lead to heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure, and walking difficulties. Other blood circulation diseases, such as Raynaud’s syndrome, affect the hands and feet.
What are the leading causes of poor blood circulation?
Diseases, lifestyles, and genetics can cause one or many blood circulation problems.
As soon as we spend more than 7 hours a day sitting, our lifestyle is considered sedentary. For several reasons, sitting or lying down for too long is bad for blood circulation. A sedentary lifestyle hinders what is known as a venous return and causes blood to be stored in the lower part of the body. In addition, a sedentary lifestyle encourages weight gain and the accompanying cardiovascular risk factors: diabetes, high blood pressure, and excess cholesterol in the blood.
Therefore, taking regular breaks to stretch your legs when working in an office or teleworking is advisable. Take the time to pace while taking a video conference, stretch, or take the stairs rather than the lift, and opt for cycling or walking rather than public transport or the car whenever possible. Good posture when working at a computer is also recommended:
- The back and head should be straight.
- The screen should be raised so that it is at eye level.
- The legs should not be crossed. The feet should be flat on the floor or the footrest.
Being overweight affects venous and arterial blood circulation. At the venous level, overweight or obese people often suffer from organ compression, resulting in poor blood circulation. Being overweight also increases abdominal pressure, and the venous system becomes weakened. At the arterial level, cardiovascular risk factors, which are the consequence of excess weight, can damage the arteries. Being overweight can also lead to enlarged veins, causing varicose veins. Thankfully, varicose veins are treatable by many hospitals and healthcare centers such as West Medical.
An unhealthy living
A diet that is too rich in saturated fats and industrial products can clog the arteries, making it more difficult for them to deliver oxygen-rich blood to the organs. To improve arterial circulation, it is imperative to watch your diet. Good hydration (2L of water daily) is also ideal for helping the arteries function correctly.
As with many diseases, heredity is a factor in developing certain conditions. You may have this if one of your parents suffers from poor circulation. Heredity is even one of the leading causes of venous insufficiency or phlebitis (a clot in a leg vein).
Regular smokers are more likely to suffer from venous insufficiency and phlebitis. When you smoke, the substances in the cigarette can deteriorate the walls of the veins and promote coagulation responsible for clots and, therefore, phlebitis. However, smoking has a more significant impact on the arteries, causing them to narrow. In this case, increased blood clotting and clots can lead to the complete obstruction of arteries, whose diameter is already reduced, and lead to heart attacks or infarctions and strokes.
Blood circulation can also be disrupted in more specific cases, for example, during hot weather or a prolonged journey by plane or car. Age is also a factor.
The main symptoms of venous insufficiency
One of the most common signs of venous insufficiency is a feeling of heavy legs unequivocally. To relieve this symptom, you can elevate your legs, wear compression stockings or apply cold to your legs (water, spray), starting from the ankles and working up to the thighs.
The feeling of heavy legs is, in most cases, accompanied by swelling. The appearance of edema (unusual swelling of the legs and ankles) can also be seen. This edema may also be accompanied by a burning sensation and discomfort, especially at high temperatures.
Phlebitis is the blockage of a vein by a blood clot. In the case of superficial phlebitis, also known as para-phlebitis, the affected area becomes painful, red, and indurated. Phlebitis can also be deep, with swelling in the calf or thigh. If you notice pain, swelling in the lower limb, or increased skin temperature, you should consult a doctor to rule out thrombosis.
An imbalance in blood circulation may manifest by localized tingling in specific areas such as the hands or feet. This tingling sensation can last from a few minutes to several hours. The cause is the prolonged maintenance of a posture that compresses certain body areas. To relieve the tingling, change your position or walk around for a while to stretch your legs.
In some cases, tingling can be accompanied by itching or tingling with pruritus. This sensation disappears when you move, as the blood flow is more effortless.
Pain and cramps
Poor circulation can weaken joint and muscle tissues when blood flow is not optimal. This can lead to joint pain and muscle cramps.
Poor circulation weakens the body, making it harder for cells to function. This leads to intense fatigue and can affect the quality of life of the person concerned.
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