Maintaining a healthy circulatory system is a critical component of overall wellness. The system is a vast meshwork of blood vessels that functions in tandem with the heart to deliver oxygen and nutrients to different parts of the body. It also circulates hormones to where they’re needed as well as removes waste from the body.
The intricacy and complexity of this system is a wonder that many biologists cannot fully explain. Functioning as it should, the circulatory system keeps us alive and helps supply us with the physical and mental capacity to accomplish specific tasks. However, in instances where this system is compromised, serious complications can arise. They can even be fatal.
Two subsystems make up our circulatory system. One is the pulmonary system, which sends deoxygenated blood to the lungs through the veins. There, it is filled with oxygen and sent to the heart. The other is the systemic circulatory system, responsible for pumping the oxygenated blood to every other cell in the body. Blood travels through the heart and collects carbon dioxide from cells for expulsion.
Signs of Poor Circulation
What are the tell-tale signs that your circulatory system is not functioning as it should? Here are some identifiable symptoms:
- Unexplained Coldness in Extremities: If your hands and feet feel unnaturally colder than the rest of your body, it may mean not enough blood is flowing through them. This could be accompanied by an unhealthy whitish or even bluish color on your nails. Such discoloration may also appear on the skin, especially on the nose, ears, nipples, hands and feet.
- Poor Brain Function: Memory loss or an inability to concentrate could be caused by an inadequate flow of blood to the brain. This condition may be accompanied by feelings of drowsiness or fatigue, signs that the heart is working harder than it should to pump blood through the body.
- Muscular and Joint Pains: Chronic muscular aches may not always be a result of over-exertion. It could be a sign that the circulatory system is not supplying them with enough oxygen. Pain in your calf muscles when standing for long could be a symptom of this. If you notice a growing ache in your knees the longer you’re in a seating position, the same problem could be affecting your joints.
- Varicose Veins: This condition is mostly seen in women above 50 years of age. A noticeable mass of tangled blue veins very close to the skin surface, mainly on the calves and feet, is the most evident symptom of this affliction.
How to Improve Your Circulation
While there can be serious consequences of a malfunctioning circulatory system, there are a lot of ways you can take action and help restore your circulation.
Lifestyle Changes: This is the easiest way to fix your circulation. Indeed, some of these changes may save you money. Quitting smoking, for instance, will save you a few hundred dollars every month in cigarette packs and possibly the cost of treating lung cancer. As you habitually inhale cigarette smoke, a coat of nicotine develops on the walls of your arteries. Your blood also thickens as a result. This, of course, indicates an irregular supply of oxygen and nutrients through your body.
Work on Your Weight: Maintaining a healthy body weight will have the same effect. It will reduce the amount of work your heart has to do to move blood through your body. Get into a healthy dietary routine and begin to work out frequently. Jogging, swimming and aerobics are particularly suitable because they give the heart good exercise. Yoga is also said to work wonders in jump-starting your blood flow. Increasing your intake of water is also essential since a good percentage of your blood is made up of water.
Compression Socks: These deal with insufficient blood flow to your legs. They go a long way to relieve the resulting pain by forcing blood to flow through the legs instead of stagnating.
Visit a Doctor: We’ve seen that the causes of poor circulation are varied. Consulting a doctor will help pinpoint the cause of your faulty circulation so that the most effective course of treatment can be prescribed. Your general physician may advise you to find a vein specialist near you for a more accurate diagnosis.
It’s Not Too Late
It’s never too late to fix your circulation, regardless of how long you have been struggling. You can begin by making the simple lifestyle changes recommended here. If these don’t help relieve the circulation-related symptoms, visit your doctor.