Nothing is as essential to the health and well-being of a human as proper blood circulation. Blood critically carries and distributes the necessary oxygen and nutrients to keep the brain and other vital organs functioning properly.
How so? Blood disperses throughout the human body via set circulatory systems. Essentially, the heart is the genuine center of the cardiovascular system, as the strong, responsible muscle that continuously pumps blood in and out of chambers. The arterial system flows blood out from the heart with arteries and capillaries, while the venous system returns the blood to the heart with various veins, vessels, and venules.
An uninterrupted and steady blood flow is key to maintaining good health. Unfortunately, poor blood circulation is one of the most common health problems individuals face today. A wide array of factors and conditions can disrupt the delivery system and cause circulatory complications—ergo, leading to serious health consequences. Let’s examine closer the core causes and symptoms of poor blood circulation. Here's what to know about this subject.
Good Circulation Begins in the Heart
As mentioned above, good circulation starts at the nexus of it all: the heart. With each ongoing heartbeat, the indispensable muscle circulates blood and carries oxygen to every cell in the body. The circulatory system begins in the right atrium chamber—and moves through the lungs to collect oxygen and dispose of carbon dioxide—to efficiently reach the other side of the heart. The left ventricle is the portion that's responsible for pumping blood to different segments of the body.
When a circulatory system works well in all directions, it has the systematic ability to send oxygen and nutrients to every part of the body. This includes the parts that are the furthest distance away from the heart: the fingers and toes. If any obstacle, detour, or roadblock interrupts that blood flow, you will find that specific parts lack the oxygen needed to function at a standard level. The main reasoning behind the disruption tends to either be a problem with the blood delivery system or a problem with the valves controlling the direction of the circulatory stream.
The Core Causes of Inefficient Blood Flow
Consequently, what are the main causes and symptoms of poor blood circulation to keep an eye out for? A wide number of motives can spur a greater concern for circulatory problems. The reason being is that we cannot physically observe these inherent manifestations from the outside. Many are not aware of the shape of their circulatory system unless noticeable changes in health occur.
On that account, knowledge of the primary factors of inadequate blood distribution powerfully supports immediate corrective treatment. Different pulmonary, artery, and venous conditions can prevent correct blood flow. All things considered, healthcare professionals generally associate poor circulation with the following causes:
High blood pressure is a common condition that correlates to poor blood circulation. Due to the heightened force of the blood during movement, those with hypertension can have weakened blood vessels that make normal circulatory flow increasingly difficult.
A blood clot is a blockage that can occur in any blood vessel and lead to varying circulation problems. Depending on their severity, painful clots can either restrict or completely block the flow of blood to organs of the body. If left undetected or untreated, further consequences may occur, including heart attacks or strokes.
Raynaud’s Syndrome or Phenomenon
This condition occurs when certain blood flow overreacts to changes in the environment. Increased emotional stress or cold environmental conditions can cause the arteries to restrict and narrow.
Caused by inner plaque buildup, this disease hardens and narrows the arteries. The result is severely limited or restricted oxygen-rich blood flow. As atherosclerosis doesn't typically cause apparent symptoms, many do not know they have it until a medical-related emergency occurs.
Diabetes is a disease that not only affects blood sugars—it also affects the entire circulatory system. High blood glucose levels may damage blood vessels or build-up plaque, aggravating regular circulation.
A variety of lifestyle choices can impact the quality of one’s blood circulatory system. Nutritional deficiencies, stress, prolonged sitting, smoking, obesity, alcohol abuse, and excessive caffeine consumption may cause individual cases of poor circulation.
Determining Poor Circulation Symptoms
Knowing the underlying causes behind blood circulation is critical, yet so is determining the key symptoms to be alert to. Recognizing the symptoms early on helps treat the condition, disease, or circumstance causing the circulatory obstruction as soon as possible. Certain factors such as age or weather conditions can influence blood circulation, but lasting symptoms that impact one’s daily lifestyle should be reported to a physician or healthcare professional.
How does poor circulation typically affect the body? Detected symptoms can vary from individual to individual. All the while, a large number of signals are apparent by the naked eye or by common medical screenings. A circulatory system currently not in optimal condition will reveal clear signs that something is amiss. These assorted symptoms include the following:
- Excessive or lasting fatigue
- Heaviness or restlessness in the lower body parts
- Swelling around joints
- Muscle pain or tenderness during movement
- Slow-healing wounds or injuries
- Memory or concentration issues
- Brittle fingernails, toenails, and hair
- A tingling “pins and needles” sensation, usually in the hands or feet
- Cold hands, fingers, toes, legs, or feet
- Dry or cracked skin
- Lack of body hair growth
- Skin discoloration / turning pale or blue-colored
- Numbness or weakness in certain parts of the body
- Bulging veins
Blood Circulation: Diagnostic Tests and Monitoring Tools
Before making an official diagnosis on the cause of poor blood circulatory problems, a doctor or medical professional will thoroughly consider and evaluate an individual’s risk factors, symptoms, related conditions, family medical history, and examination results. Poor blood circulation can occur in babies, children, adults, and senior citizens.
The possible physical examinations or advanced testing used for these diagnosis purposes includes doppler ultrasounds, ankle-brachial index tests, angiograms, CT scans, exercise stress tests, and various blood tests. Each of the above helps provide a more comprehensive perspective on the underlying cause—and identify the most effective treatment options to restore proper blood flow.
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