Poor circulation occurs when the blood does not flow freely through the body due to a blockage in the arteries. This can be detrimental, as it means your organs (including the heart and the brain) aren’t receiving all the nutrients they need to function properly. In addition, your legs, feet, hands, and arms, won’t be receiving enough blood either. Combined, this can lead to a host of problems, some of which are potentially life threatening.
According to Shadia Laaouti, Aesthetician at Forbici London, cold hands and feet can signal poor circulation.
She explained: “One of the most common signs of poor blood circulation is cold hands and feet, which can be extremely uncomfortable. This occurs because of the reduced blood flow around the body, which can lead to temperature fluctuations in the skin and nerve endings of the hands and feet.”
Shadia went on to distinguish other impacts of poor circulation and reasons you should improve it.
Improved wound healing
Healing is a natural part of life, but sometimes our bodies don’t allow our wounds to heal properly, and it can be incredibly frustrating and painful.
Shadia said: “Whilst there are several reasons for this, one of the most common is down to poor blood circulation. The skin needs blood to repair itself, but if the blood flow towards the wound is sparce, it will take longer to repair, and you could be left with an unsightly wound for longer than usual.”
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Alleviated muscle pain and stiffness
Constant muscle pain can be extremely uncomfortable. From athletes second-guessing their workouts, to the average employee considering a day off work, muscle pain is a universal ailment that not only impairs mobility, but damages motivation as well.
Shadia said: “There are many potential causes for muscle soreness, ranging from over-exercising to dehydration, but there is one factor that is often overlooked as a primary culprit, and that is poor blood circulation. For someone who lifts weights regularly, muscle pain is not an unusual sign, but extended episodes of pain may be an indication of insufficient blood flow. This can easily be alleviated through specific massage therapies. These not only help to speed up blood circulation, but also ensure the muscles are getting adequate oxygen and nutrients to eliminate pain. There are fantastic treatments on offer, like T-shape, which is available at Forbici London. This is a targeted treatment which uses a combination of multipolar radiofrequency and LLLT laser to increase blood circulation and lymphatic drainage.”
Enhanced cognitive health
If you find that you are often forgetting things or struggling to stay focused on a task at work, you might have poor blood circulation which is affecting the everyday functioning of your brain, said Shadia.
“These cognitive problems can occur from a reduction in the flow of blood to the brain, as the blood is not pumping through the body quickly enough.”
Reduced numbness and tingling sensations
Another equally common symptom of poor blood circulation is numbness and tingling sensations in the hands and feet.
Shadia said: “This can often be disconcerting, especially if you do not know why this is happening. This is impacted by poor circulation as when something is restricting the blood flow and blood cannot reach your hands and feet sufficiently, it can lead to a sensation of pins and needles.”
Strengthened immune system
To fight off and avoid potential diseases and sickness, you will want to ensure you have good blood circulation, said Shadia.
She added: “With this, the white blood cells in your immune system will be able to be transported around the body as they should be, and work to prevent you from getting unwanted illnesses.”
So what can you do to improve circulation?
Wear the right clothing
Doctors warn that wearing too tight clothing for extended periods of time can hinder circulation.
Shadia said: “For this reason, you should try opting for loose or lightly fitted clothing that ensures your blood can circulate normally through your body. This is especially the case for anyone who has symptoms of poor circulation. Compression socks are also a good option if you have circulation concerns, as they target the ankles to improve overall blood flow in the body.”
Exercise is a great way to improve circulation. Shadia said: “This can be anything from jogging, cycling, or dancing – any activity that gets your heart racing and blood pumping. This is because it strengthens the entire cardiovascular system and enables the heart to pump blood through the body more effectively. Even a light-brisk walk will improve your blood flow.”
Hydration is key to healthy circulation because it contributes to the overall volume of your blood, which is why you are advised to drink at least six to eight glasses per day.
Shadia explained: “Drinking enough water ensures that the entire circulatory system can work efficiently, and it also flushes harmful toxins out of your system, which is an added benefit. If you find it difficult to drink enough water, try adding some flavour to make it more exciting, or putting a lemon wedge in.”
Alleviate stress levels
It can be difficult to eliminate stress entirely, but it can have a detrimental impact on your circulation, so it’s important to do what you can to relax, said Shadia.
She added: “Simple things like exercising, socialising, or taking up a new hobby, are great ways to help you feel calm and more in control of your life. “
Whilst moderate caffeine consumption will do no harm, too much can affect hydration which has an overall impact on your blood circulation, said Shadia.
“Try to limit yourself to one to two cups per day and avoid sugary drinks with added caffeine.”
Just a few minutes of basic stretching a day can drastically improve your blood circulation, said Shadia.
She explained: “This is because stretching works by increasing blood flow to your body’s tissues and organs, which is why people who sit at their desk all day in the same position can experience circulation problems. Making an effort to get up regularly and stretch out your body can help fight circulation problems, as well as many other ailments caused by spending too much time hunched over a desk.”