Healthy circulation is vital to living a healthy life. When our blood flows with ease through our body, we think and reason better, we can move without pain and sleep comfortably, without interruption. When disease, injury, or time interferes with unencumbered blood flow, our quality of life decreases, sometimes to the point of incapacitation or even death. Knowing how important circulation is to your overall health, is there anything you can do to improve it? The answer is yes! Here are some common sense ways you can improve your circulation – and your overall health.
Conditions that impede circulation
Certain chronic conditions cause problems with circulation. Build-up of fatty deposits and plaque in the arteries (atherosclerosis) slow circulation, making it harder for the heart to pump adequately and efficiently. This can result in heart failure, tumors, physical trauma or injury, pain in the extremities, feelings of cold and numbness and dizziness. While sometimes, poor circulation may be the result of a medical condition, it is more often the result of poor or too convenient lifestyle choices that cause your circulation to slow down. Here are some simple changes you can make to help improve how well vital oxygen and nutrients get to your muscles, organs, and brain.
- Stop Smoking. While everyone knows that smoking is bad for you, most don’t know the mechanics of how. With regard to circulation, it is the blood that delivers oxygen to our vital organs that allow us to function. The carbon monoxide from smoking destroys these oxygen-carrying cells. As a result, our heart, lungs and other organs start to break down. Interestingly, it is smoking-related circulatory disease that kills more smokers than lung cancer, and that damage starts with that first cigarette. Therefore, if you do smoke, try to stop. If you don’t smoke, don’t start. And be sure to stay away from second hand smoke.
- Maintaining a healthy diet. When it comes to eating healthy, you probably think more about weight than circulation. But eating too much fatty, processed and/or salty food can increase your blood pressure and cause heart disease, in addition to weight gain.
- Sitting for hours. Deep vein thrombosis occurs deep inside your body, where veins can swell from lack of movement. When clots are released or broken loose, it can result in a potentially life-threatening pulmonary embolism
- Ignoring chronic problems. Diabetes and high blood pressure are major risks to healthy blood circulation. There is a reason they are called “silent killers” – their symptoms come without warning but can cause heart disease and blood vessel damage – both of which are detrimental to your blood circulation.
What to Start Doing
Now that you know some causes of poor circulation, how about some solutions to getting your blood pumping? For starters, try the following:
- Get moving. Aerobic exercise will increase blood circulation for healthy organs, muscles and bones. With certain types of exercise, you may even help your body grow new small blood vessels (capillaries) in response to the added demand for oxygen-rich blood created by exertion. Always get a checkup before starting a new exercise regimen, though. Try walking 15 minutes a day to start; swimming, cycling and dancing are also great to get the hear pumping.
- Don’t stay still. Avoid sitting too long; standing desks and walking meetings seem to be more acceptable now in the office. On long plane trips, try to stretch out or walk around. For long car rides, pull over at rest stops and do some light exercises to get the blood flowing. Compression socks can help on these long trips, as well as medications for those who have been diagnosed with deep vein thrombosis.
- Consider a massage. Be sure your masseuse is a licensed massage therapist who is trained to help improve blood flow.
- Listen to your doctor. Check with your doctor if you have symptoms of blood vessel blockage – cramping in the calves or legs. Take your medications as prescribed, even if you feel well. This is especially important for high blood pressure, which doesn’t cause noticeable symptoms.
Don’t take your blood circulation for granted! There are certain conditions that put you at greater risk for poor blood circulation, blood clots, and deep vein thrombosis. To find out more about how you can improve your blood circulation, contact us today at Premier Vein & Vascular. Call 1-888-VEINCARE or use our convenient online appointment request form. We would be happy to see you at either of our locations in Tampa and Largo, Florida.