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Poor Circulation: Symptoms, Causes & Treatment

Blood circulation is a term used to describe how well your body transports oxygen and nutrients around your entire body. It also transports waste products away from your cells. This process allows your cells to function properly and keeps them healthy.

Many factors can affect the quality of your blood circulation such as poor diet, smoking, lack of exercise, and even poor posture.

Poor circulation can cause pain and swelling in the extremities such as the arms, legs, hands, and feet. Other common signs include increased heart rate after standing for a long time and leg cramping at night.

Signs & Symptoms

It’s important to understand the common signs and symptoms of poor blood circulation so you can improve it. In this article, we are going to be talking about some of the most common signs and causes associated with poor blood circulation.

1. Cold hands and feet

Cold hands and feet are a common complaint, especially in the winter. But if you have cold hands and feet all year round, it may be a sign of poor blood circulation.

Poor circulation can make your extremities feel cold and numb, especially when you’re at rest or sleeping. The symptoms often improve after physical activity but return again when you sit down to rest.

A poor diet is one of the most common reasons why you may feel cold hands or feet. Your diet can affect your body’s ability to maintain a stable internal temperature. If you don’t eat enough protein or vitamins, this can lead to low energy levels which result in poor circulation and coldness in the limbs.

Dehydration may also cause constriction of the blood vessels, which restricts the flow of blood through them. As a result, your organs will not receive enough oxygen and nutrients. This can make you feel weak and lethargic, which will cause your hands and feet to feel cold.

Note: Cold hands and feet can also come as a result of Raynaud’s disease. Raynaud’s disease is a condition that causes poor blood circulation in the fingers and toes. It can be seen as a bluish-white discoloration of the skin. 
The condition occurs when arteries narrow due to an autoimmune response. This causes fingers or toes to feel cold and numb when exposed to cold temperatures or emotional stress.
Raynaud’s disease affects around 1 in 5 people at some point in their lives, but most people only experience it once or twice. Only a few people go on to develop more serious symptoms.

2. Swelling

If you have swelling in one area only, like your hands or feet, you might have a problem caused by poor blood circulation. This condition happens when fatty deposits build up on the walls of your arteries and reduce blood flow to your limbs. It  causes an increase in pressure that forces fluid into your tissue, causing swelling in the foot or hand.

This condition is most commonly seen in people over the age of 55. It can cause pain in the legs when walking uphill or climbing the stairs. Swelling can happen to anyone, but it’s more common in people with diabetes or high cholesterol.

3. Numbness and tingling in the hands and feet

This condition can affect both men and women, but it is more prevalent among people over 60 years of age. Age-related loss of elasticity in blood vessels causes them to stiffen, which decreases the flow of oxygen-rich blood through them. This leads to a sharp tinglish feeling in the palms of the hands or soles of the feet.

When it only affects one hand or foot, it’s usually nothing to worry about. But if you’re experiencing numbness and tingling in both hands or feet, you may want to see your doctor.

A reason for having poor blood circulation is living a sedentary lifestyle. Doing little to no physical activity for long periods of time decreases muscle tone, which reduces the ability of your muscles to pump blood through your body efficiently. Sitting for long periods at work or watching television can have this effect.

Smoking also can cause numbness and tingling in the hands and feet. Being a regular smoker affects your heart, lungs, and blood vessels by constricting them, making it more difficult for blood to flow freely throughout your body. This increases your risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, and even stroke.

4. Digestive problems

Digestive problems can be a sign of poor blood circulation. This is because when you have poor circulation, your organs and body tissues do not get enough nutrients and oxygen. This causes them to be unable to function properly.

Diarrhea is one common sign of poor blood circulation, especially when it is caused by eating too much sugar. The sugar in the body turns into lactic acid which makes the muscles stiff and rigid. As a result, the muscles in your intestines cannot do their job properly and you end up with diarrhea.

The best way to deal with diarrhea is to drink plenty of water to flush out all the toxins from your body and get rid of excess salt and sugar from your diet.

However, constipation can also be a sign of poor circulation. To understand how poor blood circulation can cause constipation, it’s important to understand how our bodies work. Every day, we produce waste products and toxins that need to be removed from our bodies through urination, defecation, and sweating.

This is done by the circulatory system through your heart pumping oxygen-rich blood throughout your body. Toxins are filtered out into the lymphatic system.

However, if there is poor circulation in any part of this process, either in the heart or in any vessels leading away from your heart, then toxins can’t be removed efficiently enough from your body’s tissues and organs. This causes them to accumulate within those tissues and organs instead of being filtered out as waste products by your lymphatic system.

If you want to improve your digestion, then one of the best things that you can do is improve your overall health through better nutrition and exercise habits. A healthy diet that includes lots of fresh fruits and vegetables will help increase the number of red blood cells within your body. This will eventually improve oxygenation around all of your organs including your digestive tract.

Exercise can also help increase blood flow throughout your body by improving heart function and increasing metabolism which helps burn fat more efficiently.

5. Joint pain and muscle pain

Your body is made up of many different systems, each with its own job. One of the most important jobs is to keep your blood pumping throughout your body.

Joint pain and muscle pain can be a sign that your blood circulation isn’t working as well as it should be. This can happen for a number of reasons, including injury or overexertion. If you have an injury or overexertion, there can be swelling in the injured area which blocks the blood vessels.

This causes pain because there isn’t enough space for the blood to flow through easily.

A poor diet is another common reason that leads to Joint pain and muscle pain. This happens because it lacks essential vitamins and minerals that help keep your arteries open and flexible. The arteries become stiffer over time which makes them less able to handle increased pressure from pumping blood through them.

This leads to more pressure being placed on other areas of the body such as joints and muscles, which causes them to ache even when you aren’t moving around at all!

6. Cognitive problems

A person’s cognitive ability is a good indication of how well their blood circulation is working. If your brain is not getting enough oxygen, you’ll have trouble thinking clearly or make poor decisions. This can happen for a variety of reasons, but one of the most common causes is poor blood circulation.

Poor blood circulation can lead to a number of other health issues as well, including heart disease and even diabetes. In fact, some studies show that people with diabetes tend to have more severe cognitive impairment than those who don’t have diabetes.

If you notice that you are having difficulty remembering things or that you are having trouble thinking clearly, it may be due to poor blood flow in your brain. This could be a sign of high blood pressure, diabetes, or hardening of the arteries.

7. Leg ulcers

Leg ulcers are extremely painful conditions that can affect both the lower and upper legs. These painful ulcers occur on the skin, often in the form of wounds, sores, or blisters. They can also develop under the nails or in the mouth.

While leg ulcers can occur at any age, they are more common in older adults who are more susceptible to blood clots, reduced mobility, and varicose veins. Dehydration and poor nutrition also contributes to leg ulcer formation.

Leg ulcers usually develop as a result of venous insufficiency. Venous insufficiency occurs when there is an obstruction in one of the veins that return blood from the legs back to the heart. This obstruction prevents full blood flow back up to the heart. When this happens, blood pools in your lower legs which causes swelling and leads to increased pressure within these areas.

8. Changes in skin color

The skin is the largest organ in the human body, and it’s a very important part of your overall health. In fact, it has many functions that go beyond just protecting you from the elements.

If you have poor circulation, you may notice that your skin changes color. Circulation problems can cause redness, blushing, and other skin changes.

The biggest sign of poor circulation is a change in skin color. Your skin may become pale or blue, especially if you’re standing for long periods of time or not moving around enough. A lack of oxygen in the blood can also cause your fingers, toes, and lips to turn blue when you’re sleeping or sitting still for a long period of time.

Causes of Poor Blood Circulation

Poor blood circulation can be due to several reasons. It may be a result of an underlying disease or condition, or it may be a temporary problem that you can treat yourself. There are 5 common causes of poor circulation.

1. Obesity

Obesity is a common cause of poor blood circulation and can make your legs feel heavy, swollen, and tired. Obese people have poorer circulation than people of normal weight because there is more fat tissue on their bodies which reduces the amount of oxygen that reaches their internal organs. This can lead to long-term health problems such as heart disease or stroke.

2. Blood clots

Blood clots are a common cause of poor blood circulation, which can lead to heart attack, stroke, and other serious health problems. Blood clots may be a symptom of other conditions, such as deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, and heart attack.

Blood clots occur when blood thickens and sticks together. Clots can block the flow of blood through veins, causing poor circulation and pain in the leg muscles. A clot may break off and travel through the bloodstream until it reaches an artery, where it becomes lodged in the vessel wall. The artery then becomes blocked by the clot and cannot deliver oxygen-rich blood to parts of your body that need it most.

3. Diabetes

Diabetes is a common cause of poor blood circulation. In diabetes, the body can’t make enough insulin or use it properly. This causes sugar levels to rise in the blood.

In many people with diabetes, glucose builds up in the blood, leading to damage in small blood vessels. This damage can affect how well your body functions.

Diabetes can damage your heart, kidneys, and eyes. It can also cause complications such as blindness and nerve damage. If you have diabetes, it’s important to manage your condition with the help of medical professionals so that it doesn’t affect your blood circulation.

4. Varicose veins

Varicose veins are the most common circulatory disorder, affecting 45 percent of adults over 40. The condition occurs when weakened valves in the veins cause blood to pool and form bulging, twisted veins.

The veins most commonly affected are the superficial veins on the legs, which may become swollen and twisted. Deep vein thrombosis is a condition where a blood clot forms in your leg veins. The clot can break off and travel to your lungs, where it becomes an embolism that obstructs blood flow through the pulmonary artery. This can be life-threatening if not treated quickly.

5. Narrowing of blood vessels and arteries

The narrowing of blood vessels can be caused by the buildup of fatty deposits called plaque in the walls of arteries that supply oxygen-rich blood to the heart and brain. These deposits may also occur in other parts of the body where arteries branch off from larger vessels.

The accumulation of plaque makes it difficult for blood to flow through these narrowed arteries, resulting in reduced blood supply to organs and tissues that need it. This condition is known as atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries, which can lead to serious health issues such as heart attack, stroke, or kidney failure if left untreated.

Treatment Options

Poor blood circulation can result from a wide range of conditions and bad habits. In many cases, there are treatments available to help improve circulation. Treatment options for poor blood circulation include:

Medications. Many medications for circulatory problems work by increasing the ability of your heart to pump blood through your body and by improving the flexibility of your arteries. These medications may be taken as pills or in cream form applied to your skin. Medications are often used with other treatments and may require periodic adjustments based on how well they’re working.

Exercise. Regular exercise improves circulation by strengthening your heart muscle, improving flexibility in your coronary arteries, and reducing stress on your arteries caused by pressure against them while you’re sitting or lying down. Exercise also helps you maintain a healthy weight, which can reduce the risk of conditions that affect blood flow, such as diabetes mellitus (sugar diabetes). The type and amount of exercise that’s right for you depends on what’s causing your poor circulation and any other health problems you have. Talk with your doctor or physical therapist about what kind of exercise would be best for you.

Avoid smoking. Smoking constricts blood vessels, making it harder for them to expand when needed. This can lead to a lack of oxygen reaching your limbs or organs and may cause pain or numbness in your hands or feet during exercise or other activities. You should also stop if you’re having trouble breathing while walking upstairs or climbing hills.


If you want to prevent poor blood circulation, there are a number of things you can do. One great way is to reduce stress levels. Stress can cause increased heart rate and increased blood pressure which can put extra strain on your circulatory system.

A balanced diet rich in fresh fruit, vegetables, and lean protein will help keep your body healthy and strong. Regular exercise also helps maintain healthy circulation by increasing blood flow to all parts of your body.

You should consult your doctor if you have any concerns about your blood circulation. If you are experiencing symptoms such as pain or numbness in your hands or feet or swelling in these areas, see your doctor immediately as this could be a sign of serious underlying problems with your heart or circulatory system.