Poor Circulation: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment
Do your legs or feet keep falling asleep? Do they often feel restless, tingly, swollen, or heavy? Millions of Americans report poor circulation symptoms; however, most don’t realize that underlying vein disease might be the culprit. Vein disease symptoms can include swelling, tiredness, itching, burning, tingling, and numbness in the legs, ankles, and feet.
Poor circulation is when your extremities do not receive the proper amount of blood and oxygen. This can impact your upper extremities (arms, hands, and fingers) or lower ones (legs, ankles, and feet). Poor circulation can often result in pain or discomfort in these regions.
A variety of causes exist behind poor blood circulation, including vein disease, or venous insufficiency. This common health condition most often affects the legs. When excess pressure is continually placed on leg veins, tiny vein valves can become damaged and cause trouble. Blood starts to pool in the region and can give rise to venous issues like varicose veins and spider veins.
You may wonder what prompts excess pressure to be placed on the veins in the first place. Risk factors for developing vein disease include:
- Getting older
- Being a woman
- Having a high Body Mass Index (BMI)
- High blood pressure
- Prolonged periods of standing or sitting
If you experience poor circulation symptoms, it is important to visit your doctor to determine the cause. Untreated vein disease can lead to dangerous health conditions like venous ulcers and Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT).
At USA Vein Clinics, we offer minimally-invasive vein disease and poor circulation treatment that can drastically improve your life.
Signs of Poor Circulation
If your legs are not successfully circulating blood throughout your lower extremities, this can cause poor circulation symptoms such as:
- Cold feet or legs: Reduced blood flow in your feet causes them to feel colder than other parts of your body.
- Swollen legs, ankles, or feet: When your veins can’t push blood upward, it can collect in your legs. This blood pooling puts extra pressure on the area, causing fluid buildup and swelling.
- Muscle cramping: Inconsistent blood flow may create muscle aches and pains.
- Numbness: Poor circulation may cause you to experience a tingling or numbing sensation in your thighs, calves, or feet.
- Changes in skin color: A lack of blood flow can change the color of the skin on your feet and legs.
- Leg ulcers: A break in the skin on your leg can become larger from increased blood pressure and take a long time to heal or may not heal at all.
- Varicose veins: When blood pools in your veins due to poor circulation, it puts pressure on the veins and causes them to bulge.
What Causes Poor Circulation?
Poor circulation in your legs can occur due to a variety of underlying causes. These include:
- Vein Disease: Vein disease affects over 30 percent of the population. It occurs when the valves or walls in your leg veins malfunction. Vein disease is usually associated with physical signs such as varicose veins and spider veins.
- Blood Clots: Blood clots are often very dangerous because they can completely block blood flow. They can also start in one area such as the leg, then move on to more critical organs such as the lungs. One type of blood clot, Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), is considered life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention. If you notice sudden pain, redness, swelling, warmth, and firmness on one side, please head to the nearest emergency room.
- May-Thurner Syndrome: May-Thurner Syndrome is caused when the right iliac artery compresses the left iliac vein. This restricts the blood flow out of the left leg and leads to swelling.
If you are living with poor circulation symptoms, it’s best to talk to your doctor as soon as possible. Some untreated conditions can lead to severe complications. The best option is early detection and treatment of the underlying issue to prevent symptoms of poor blood circulation.
How to Improve Poor Blood Circulation
Treatment for poor circulation in legs depends on its root cause. In general, our experts recommend making the following lifestyle modifications to help get your blood flowing:
- Lose excess weight: Of course, this is often easier said than done. Ask your doctor about the best commercial or medical weight loss programs to support your individual situation.
- Eat a healthy, well-rounded diet: Whether you have weight to lose or not, it is always important to eat right for better vein health. Your diet should include plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and low-fat dairy products.
- Exercise regularly: Getting moving can help you maintain your weight as well as improve your overall physical, cognitive, and emotional health.
- Avoid prolonged standing or sitting: If you just can’t avoid this situation, we recommend taking frequent breaks throughout the day. Walk around, do exercises in place, stretch, and massage your legs regularly. Elevating your legs may also be beneficial and reduce poor circulation symptoms.
- Limit sodium, sugar, alcohol, and caffeine: Although you may not be able to entirely avoid these substances, reducing your intake can help.
Unfortunately, lifestyle modifications aren’t always enough to improve poor circulation symptoms. If you have varicose veins, for example, they don’t just go away on their own. Fortunately, we offer a range of treatment options.
Poor Circulation Treatment at USA Vein Clinics
Vein treatment improves circulation by closing malfunctioning veins and rerouting blood flow to healthy veins. This allows blood to successfully travel back and forth to the heart. Most treatments take 15-30 minutes and allow you to leave immediately afterward. A hospital stay is not required.
During your initial consultation at USA Vein Clinics, your doctor will provide you with a proper diagnosis. They will also discuss which treatment option will work best for you. We offer Endovenous Laser Therapy (EVLT), ClariVein, Varithena Foam Treatment, and Sclerotherapy.
To begin your journey towards better vein health, simply schedule an appointment online today. You can come to one of 90 nationwide locations or arrange for a virtual visit with one of our vein specialists.