Your vascular, or circulatory, system is vast and critical. It is the network of vessels through which blood is transported throughout your body, nourishing tissue from the tips of your toes to your brain. It is what keeps you moving, thinking, and functioning.
The heart sends oxygen-rich blood through the arteries to all parts of the body, and oxygen-depleted blood is pumped back to the heart through veins, where the cycle begins again.
There are a wide number of problems that can slow or stop the circulatory process. For example, a blood clot may form in a blood vessel, preventing adequate blood flow from reaching body tissues. High cholesterol can lead to plaque buildup (atherosclerosis) in blood vessels, effectively narrowing them and restricting blood flow. The valves in the veins of the legs may be faulty and have a difficult time keeping blood moving upward toward the heart, instead of causing blood to pool in the legs, resulting in unsightly, gnarled varicose veins.
Anything that restricts circulation can lead to tissue death, limb loss, stroke, and sudden death.
So how can you tell if you have poor circulation? Symptoms include:
- Numbness or tingling, especially in the arms or legs, where the blood has to travel furthest
- Extremities that are cool to the touch, especially when compared to the trunk of the body
- Low energy or fatigue
- Dizzy spells
- Dry skin
- Hair loss
- Swelling, especially in the feet
Your precise symptoms, and where they are occurring in your body, will help your doctor determine what diagnostic tests may be needed to identify the cause of poor circulation. A physical exam and blood tests are a good place to start.
Treatment, likewise, will depend on the cause.
Exercise – even just walking – can help improve circulation. Avoiding sitting or standing for long periods of time, using proper posture, and performing yoga and deep-breathing exercises can help. Of course, if there is an underlying condition causing the poor circulation, it will need to be addressed.
Are you experiencing signs and symptoms of poor circulation? Find out how you can keep your vascular system in good working order by contacting the vascular experts at Premier Vein & Vascular. Call 1-888-VEINCARE, or you can request an appointment online at our offices in Tampa or Largo, Florida.