Blood circulation is one of those things that we all know a little about, but if you were asked to explain in detail what it really means, why poor circulation can be a problem, and what you can do to improve it, you would probably soon find yourself somewhat lost for words.
Yet it is a problem that affects millions of Americans – many of whom do not even realize it – and can afflict people of all ages, shapes, and sizes. Here, we find out more about poor circulation and what you can do to combat it.
What is poor circulation?
The first thing to understand is that poor circulation is not a condition in itself but a symptom of some other underlying malady. The circulatory system sends blood, nutrients, and oxygen around the body. Poor circulation is when blood flow to a specific area is compromised or reduced. It is most common in the extremities such as the arms and legs, and symptoms include tingling, numbness, or throbbing pain in the affected areas.
There are a variety of conditions that can lead to poor circulation. Among the most common are diabetes, obesity, heart conditions, and arterial issues such as periphery artery disease (PAD).
Dealing with circulation issues
If you have poor circulation, it is important to see your doctor to see if they can identify what lies at the root cause. In many cases, there is no clear-cut explanation, and it is brought about by a combination of things. The good news is that there are plenty of things that you can do to combat the effects and improve your comfort.
Keeping your muscles toned and your body in good condition is certain to assist circulation problems. However, you need to take a few precautions. Suddenly trying to go for a run or a workout in the gym when your arms and legs are numb and tingling is not going to be much fun, so start out slow and make sure that you are equipped with the right sportswear to help circulation from the outset. Many top athletes swear by copper fit for this very reason, so it is worthwhile investing in some good-quality compression copper fit products.
There are a number of dietary aspects that have been proven to help improve circulation. Add more fiber to your diet, and make sure that you include plenty of fruit and vegetables every day. Certain herbs can be highly effective in aiding circulation; these include garlic, ginger, and cayenne.
Just the thought of a warm, relaxing bath or a soak in a hot tub sounds good, and it can be a great way to improve circulation – and really, that is all that is meant by hydrotherapy. Immersion in warm water helps to dilate the blood vessels and thereby improve circulation. This is part of the reason why it feels so good – so run a hot bath or get down to the local spa for a couple of hours. You will feel ten times better.
- What to drink
Remaining hydrated is an important tool in battling circulation problems, so be sure to consume at least five glasses of water per day. Green tea is also an excellent choice as it is high in antioxidants, which can help relax the blood vessels. The conventional wisdom is that you should avoid alcohol. This is generally good advice for all sorts of reasons, but having said that, if you enjoy a glass of wine, there is really no harm, as long as you take it in moderation. Red wine, in particular, contains antioxidants that can be beneficial. Try to avoid sweet, sugary drinks (alcoholic or otherwise) as they will do the blood vessels no favors.
- Put your feet up
This final piece of advice is meant both literally and figuratively. A sedentary lifestyle can be harmful for circulation, but at the same time, you should avoid being on your feet all the time. Take time out to relax in between the exercise and other day-to-day activities, and when you do so, put your legs in an elevated position to aid the flow of blood.
All things in moderation
The above tips will be sure to help your circulation problems, but the most important thing is to take them all in moderation. Stay hydrated, get a little exercise, take a little rest, and treat yourself to a little pampering. And remember, if the symptoms persist or get worse, seek a medical opinion as quickly as possible.