Exercise, cutting back on smoking, and becoming more fit can all help improve blood circulation. If you think this might be a problem for you, never fear: here’s a list of warning signs that your body may not be getting the blood flow it needs.
1. Discoloured skin
If the tips of your fingers and toes have started to turn blue (1), there’s a chance you have poor blood circulation. This condition is known as cyanosis and can make your fingers and toes appear bruised as well as bluish.
Don’t wait for the colour to become intense, though; the blue appears as just a tint in your extremities. This condition can indicate the onset of congenital heart disease in infants and should be taken seriously if it appears.
2. Swollen Feet
When your circulatory system begins to lag, blood can start pooling in your extremities (2) because it’s harder for your heart to pump it out. This reduces the amount of blood available to the rest of your body.
This swelling, known as edema, can often be identified though a simple test. Press a finger down on the swollen area, hold for 5 seconds, and release; if there is an indentation in your otherwise puffy skin, this is likely a case of edema. That said, if you notice that your hands or feet have become swollen, talk to a doctor rather than relying on self-diagnosis.
3. Digestive Problems
Constipation and cramps are a bummer—and they may indicate poor circulation (3). If you’re seeking an explanation for your digestive unrest, consider that circulation issues may be the cause.
Reducing its rate of digestion is just one of the ways the body copes with the diminished supply of nutrients and oxygen caused by poor blood flow.
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As the liver receives less and less blood, you may also experience appetite loss. If you notice this happening to you, make sure to keep eating regularly throughout the day in order to supply your body with as many nutrients as possible.
4. Hair Loss
As with other symptoms of poor circulation, hair loss (4) occurs when not enough nutrients and oxygen are reaching your hair follicles. While many known causes of hair loss exist, in combination with another symptom from this list it might be a good reason to question if your circulation is up to speed.
One recent study conducted in Japan suggested blood circulation in the scalps of young men diagnosed with male pattern baldness was almost 2.6 times lower than in those of the control group.
Poor circulation can affect your brain as well as your other organs. Feelings of fatigue (5) and dizziness and frequent headaches can indicate decreased blood flow to your brain. If you find yourself feeling dizzy at unexpected times, it might be the result of a circulation problem.
While low energy, like many of the items on this list, is symptomatic of a wide range of conditions, take note of it as a possible indication of poor circulation when other symptoms are also present.
6. Cold Hands and Feet
A persistent feeling of cold hands and feet is a telltale sign of circulation problems. This condition, called Raynaud’s disease (6), narrows the arteries in your hands and toes. This can lead to inadequate blood flow throughout your body. Poor circulation can affect remote areas of the body as well: symptoms may appear in the nose, lips, nipples and ears.
7. Frequent Numbness
It’s quite common to experience the sensation of numbness (7) when one of your limbs has been under pressure for a long time and you’re just starting to move it.
If this feeling is persistent and can’t be attributed to a specific external event, however, it may just be the result of circulation problems. If the source is indeed poor blood circulation, the sensation will likely be the most noticeable in your extremities.
8. Throbbing Limbs
When your circulation isn’t running as smoothly as usual, you may experience several different types of pain, as previously listed. Yet another type (8) is that of the throbbing limb, wherein your arms and legs may start to pound rhythmically in addition to tingling or cramping.
The pounding in your limbs may be accompanied by a stinging sensation. Needless to say, it’s often unpleasant to have poor circulation. Take care of yourself and don’t ignore your symptoms.
9. Lack of Appetite
A sluggish liver (9) can be the result of decreased blood circulation in the body. When your liver’s function is impaired, you might find yourself less eager to eat.
This symptom is often found in conjunction with dull-looking skin, which is also indicative of reduced blood circulation to the liver.
As mentioned previously, if your appetite is diminished, your first step should be ensuring that your body is still getting the nourishment it needs. Juicing is a great way to make sure you get plenty of nutrients even when you’re not feeling hungry.
10. Memory Loss
Keep forgetting where you put your keys? There’s a slight chance that the increasing frequency of your memory blunders could be caused by poor blood circulation (10).
If that is in fact the case, you may also find that it takes you longer than normal to recall information or react to new stimuli. You may also have the sense that your thoughts are foggy rather than clear.
If this sounds like you, don’t panic, but consider that it may be due to a circulation problem. Poor circulation can be caused by a multitude of underlying health conditions. If you find yourself exhibiting any of the symptoms above, see a doctor to discuss how to manage your condition.