Our body is a great machine where everything has been designed to work properly so as to ensure our survival. Our organs, as well as all the structures that are part of the human body, are organised in a logical and functional way.
The same is true of blood circulation. A large network of vessels, veins and arteries allow the blood to reach all organs and tissues of the body, working as a kind of fuel, allowing functions as simple as breathing.
However, the machine that is the human body also has some flaws and sometimes minor problems can cause a few parts to have some difficulties and can cause inconvenience. This is the case of poor circulation. The circulatory system, often because of our habits and behaviours, does not always work as desired, which can bring some discomfort and lead to serious health problems if not treated in a timely manner.
How Blood Circulation Works
Blood circulation is the constant and fluid movement of blood in a closed circuit. In the human body, blood circulation refers to the movement of blood originating in the heart from where it's pumped into the arteries. This circulatory function, of blood transport along the body, is made in two circuits separated anatomically and with different functions:
Small circulation (or pulmonary circulation) is the one through which gas exchanges of oxygen are performed.
Great circulation (or systemic circulation) is the one that allows the transport of nutrients and oxygen to the tissues and receive the final products of the metabolism to be later expelled by the individual, as well as to take the hormones to the target organs.
Problems of poor circulation are very common and are defined by the difficulty of blood passing through the veins or arteries. Poor circulation in the legs may be typical, especially in heavier heights, when the heart feels it’s more difficult to perform the function of pumping blood to all parts of the body.
It’s also very frequent to have poor circulation in pregnancy, since during this period there’s an increase in the production of fluids in a woman's body. This can hinder the work of the veins, giving rise to poor circulation. In addition, during pregnancy there is the production of relaxin (a hormone responsible for dilating the veins) which makes it more difficult for the blood to return to the heart.
Causes Of Poor Circulation
It’s also possible that there’s a malfunction of the circulatory system due to the taking of the contraceptive pill in the case of women.
Smoking and consuming of tobacco can restrict the blood flow and may impair the circulatory system.
There may be cases of poor circulation related to hereditary problems. It’s therefore very important to know the history of diseases in the family to see if you’re at risk of suffering from poor circulation.
Spending a lot of time on your feet or, conversely, spending a lot of time sitting (especially with your legs crossed) also contributes to problems of poor blood circulation.
Consuming foods high in sugar and fats can lead to cholesterol build-up in the body which accumulates on the walls of the arteries and can restrict the blood flow, thus leading to poor circulation.
Likewise, these problems in the circulatory system may appear as a normal sign of ageing of the body.
Symptoms Of Poor Blood Circulation
How do we know if we suffer from poor blood circulation? What are the signs when something goes wrong with our circulatory system? The symptoms of poor blood circulation appear most often in the legs and feet. Symptoms of poor blood circulation may begin with swollen ankles, varicose veins or small fissures or cracks in the heel. These fissures arise since there are not enough nutrients in this area of ??the body.
Poor circulation can reach people of all ages but is more common in older people and women - especially when they’re taking the birth control pill or are pregnant. It can even reach people suffering from some illnesses such as hypertension, high cholesterol and even diabetes.
The main symptoms of poor blood circulation are:
- Itching in the legs
- Cold skin
- Dry and scaly skin
- Red spots on the legs
- Onset of varicose veins
- Leg cramps
- Swollen feet and ankles
- Feeling of tingling and numbness in the legs
- Fissures in the heels
- Absence of hair on the legs
- Paleness or bluish colour in areas with poor circulation
In heavier heights, it’s normal for people to experience swollen legs due to poor circulation or fluid retention. The problem arises when people who suffer these problems devalue the symptoms and don’t seek to find out how they can improve blood circulation.
Natural Solutions To Improve Blood Circulation
There are several treatments available depending on the case and the needs of each person. In some cases, you can just do away with the factors that are causing poor circulation to solve the problem. However, in other situations, more options can and should be studied. Some examples of these include:
A good natural solution for poor circulation in the legs can be the use of compression elastic stockings that help to facilitate and improve the return circulation, causing blood and liquids to not accumulate in the legs and ankles. If you choose to wear compression stockings, you should wear them early in the morning because there can be an increased tendency for oedema (abnormal accumulation of fluid in the legs) as the day progresses.
Always try to wear comfortable clothes that allow free movement of the body, avoiding parts that compress certain areas, such as belts, straps and garters and even very tight shoes that have a band or strap that can affect blood circulation. Avoid very tight clothing - don't wear sizes that are too small or wear bras with tight metal rims that compress the chest.
A good mechanism to relieve the symptoms of poor circulation is to lift your legs when sitting. Having your legs slightly upward will facilitate the return of blood. People who suffer from poor circulation in the legs are often advised to sleep with their legs elevated to make circulation more fluid. The same suggestion is for pregnant women who should rest when possible and try to keep their legs elevated when sitting or lying down, wear elastic compression stockings and still do massages to relieve poor circulation in the legs.
Massages are advantageous because they activate circulation; it causes the veins - especially the superficial ones that store a large amount of blood - to be emptied to allow for normal blood circulation. If you don’t have the time or financial availability to resort to massages as often as you should or would like, you can opt for a foot massager that can help you deal with poor circulation problems.
At-home massagers are also a good option for those who face pain in the legs or feet regularly. These devices use electronic nerve stimulation techniques and electronic cushions that help promote blood circulation in the legs and body to help relieve the pain and discomfort, leaving your legs and feet to feel as new.
Excess salt will be an enemy to the bloodstream since it causes the heart, liver and kidneys to work with extra effort. In addition to foods rich in salt, you should avoid preserves, meats and fish salted,smoked or pre-cooked and additionally opt for herbs as a substitute. Also include in your food nuts, fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
Moreover, you can look for foods that are rich sources of fibre to contribute to the proper functioning of the digestive and circulatory system. You should also drink plenty of water throughout the day to facilitate the elimination of toxins and improve blood circulation.
Exercise and lifestyle
Exercise is one of the most beneficial factors to avoiding poor circulation. The contraction of the muscles causes the veins to have more force to return the normal rhythm to circulation. In addition, physical exercise makes the arterial flow work better. It’s also important to maintain a controlled weight - especially with abdominal fat as it can exert weight on the groin, making it difficult to return venous blood to the heart.
Abandon smoking habits, as nicotine and cigarette products cause damage to the walls of the arteries affecting blood circulation. Alcohol or caffeine can also cause high arterial blood pressure which can be harmful to the bloodstream.
The Final Word
Poor circulation should not be seen as a passing or unimportant problem. Ignoring the symptoms or devaluing them is putting your health at risk, since the circulatory system is of great importance for the general health and wellbeing of the human being. Once you identify the causes, you should seek advice from your doctor to see what is to be done, and try to find the best natural solution for you to restore normal functioning of the circulatory system.