If your arms and legs are constantly cold, cramped or numb, it may be a sign that you have poor blood circulation. When the blood doesn’t flow well through your body, it invites a host of health problems including heart attack, angina and stroke. There are many ways to increase blood flow — exercise, diet, medication and surgery — but before you try to help your heart do its job, it’s important to talk to your doctor to plan the best way for you. Consider your lifestyle. You may have an increased risk of poor circulation if you smoke, if you have a family history of heart problems, if you have a sedentary (inactive) lifestyle, or if your diet is high in things like saturated fat and cholesterol. See your doctor. If you believe you have poor circulation, your doctor can diagnose it by performing a basic physical exam, running blood tests or conducting an angiography. This is a test where the doctor injects dye into your blood vessels, then uses X-ray imaging to track your blood flow. Follow the doctor’s orders. There are many causes of poor blood flow, including high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and blood clots. Your doctor may write you a prescription depending on the cause, or recommend surgery. If you have a blocked blood vessel, your doctor may eliminate it with a tiny balloon (angioplasty) or create a detour around it using a blood vessel from another part of your body (bypass surgery).
Do you often find yourself a victim of chest pain, shortness of breath, or headaches? Are you perhaps considered at high risk for a heart attack? Follow these tips to improve your blood circulation throughout your body and lower your risk of a heart attack. -Walk regularly. Going for walks after meals can help increase circulation and aid your digestive system in doing its job. Walking at least 30 minutes each day is recommended. -Eat healthy foods and avoid unhealthy foods. Eat fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats (found in fish oil, olive oil, nuts and seeds). Stay away from overly processed foods, foods with excessive sugar or salt, and foods with unhealthy fats (saturated and trans fats) -Drink right. Drink enough water during the day so that your organs don’t have to fight to produce energy and perform their daily functions. You don’t have to drink liters upon liters a day, but you should drink water when you’re thirsty. Try drinking some warm water, as cold water is known to close up your veins. Cut out the caffeine. If you can’t live without it, at least minimize your intake. For instance, if you usually have two cups of coffee in the morning, have one instead. Or if you buy your coffee from a cafe somewhere, try switching to decaf or taking your coffee down one size. Cut out alcohol and other sugary drinks from your diet. Sodas and overly sweet drinks do not improve your circulation, and have especially deleterious health effects. -Try taking a hot bath or doing other heat treatments. Draw up a nice warm bath (with or without Epsom salts, which are healing mineral salts) and relax for 20 to 30 minutes. Fill up hot water bottles, cover if necessary to avoid burns, and place on extremities to boost blood flow. -Find healthy outlets for your stress. Over time, stress can have negative effects on the body’s circulation. Find manageable, healthy ways to relieve stress, such as regular exercise, meditation techniques, and psychotherapy, among others. -Know if it’s bad. Be able to spot when your body is having trouble pumping its blood. Signs that your circulation is less than ideal include: Tingling in the feet and hands Cold extremities (fingers and toes) Bluish-tinted skin Slow healing times for wounds
Circulatory disorders are quite common in middle-aged and elderly folk. Hypertension is one of them. It is caused by cholesterol plaque deposits along the walls of the arteries, making them harden and constrict.
Because the arteries are constricted, the blood exerts great force against the walls of the blood vessels, causing the blood pressure to rise. The vessels lose their elasticity and springiness. So if the body needs more energy such as walking up stairs or exercising, it can be difficult to get it. Hardening of the arteries is another consequence because the arteries narrow due to these same fatty deposits. Buergers disease, common to those who smoke, is a chronic inflammation of the veins and arteries in the lower extremities. Raynauds disease is marked by constriction and spasm of the blood vessels in the extremities.
This very often includes the fingers, toes and tip of the nose. This disease if left untreated can lead to gangrene. Varicose Veins. Poor circulation in legs can result from varicose veins. These develop because of a loss of elasticity in the walls of the veins. The resultant reduced blood circulation then compounds the problem and makes the varicose veins gradually worse. These circulatory problems are quite common due to genetics or bad food or insufficient exercise or higher stress levels etc. This problem can be quite common in a single leg but more often in both legs.
Some people with poor circulation may be suffering from venous thrombosis or deep vein thrombosis. These conditions are caused due to veins becoming inflamed, often as a result of blood clots becoming lodged in the veins. This can lead to tenderness, skin discoloration and swelling in the area where the vein is being affected. Some people also report fluids becoming collected in nearby cells which, contributes to the discomfort of the patient. Patients suffering from these symptoms not only have to worry about their circulation becoming damaged, but the blood clot breaking loose and causing further damage throughout the body. -Inadequate exercise. Not exercising frequently can also lead to poor blood circulation. When you spend a great deal of time in a neutral position blood in the pelvis and legs can become stagnant which can lead to poor circulation and blood pooling. Combining a lack of exercise with poor diet and smoking can also increase your risk of developing a dangerous condition. -Tight fitting clothing. In some cases, tight fitting clothing can decrease blood circulation, most notably in the pelvic region. Control-top pantyhose, tight shirts or skinny jeans are just a few examples of clothing that can contribute to this issue. -Stress. Stress can also lead to poor circulation, most notably in the hands. Stress leads to knots in the muscles in the shoulders and neck which can restrict blood flow to the heart and other major organs.
When you think of garlic and lemons, you might think about using them for flavoring fish or making a homemade vinaigrette. But these pungent, potent foods also have health-improving properties. One way in which garlic and lemon may be helpful is by increasing the health of your arteries.
When the level of “bad” cholesterol is too high, it can build up on your artery walls. This decreases blood flow and can put you at risk for heart attack or stroke. While there are medications to decrease bad cholesterol, natural dietary changes, such as eating more garlic and lemon, may benefit you as well.
Include more garlic in your daily cooking, advises the Cebu Cardiovascular Center at Cebu Doctors’ Hospital. This is the easiest and least expensive way to eat more garlic. Garlic is a savory addition to salad dressings, pasta, soup, stew, roasted meats, roasted vegetables and stir-fries. -Try a garlic supplement. If you don’t like the taste of garlic in food but want to benefit from garlic for your artery and heart health, garlic supplements can be useful. However, supplements are not regulated by the FDA, so their composition could be questionable. Speak to your doctor for advice regarding garlic supplements before trying them.
Many times, simple lifestyle changes — especially adding regular, moderate exercise to your daily schedule — work wonders for circulation. Exercise can also strengthen the heart and help lower blood pressure, two things that support healthy circulation.
If your physician has given the go-ahead to get moving, but you’re having trouble starting — or sticking with — an exercise program, here are a few suggestions: -Exercise first thing in the morning, so you can enjoy the feeling of accomplishment and avoid excuses, such as “I’ll do it later,” which seldom happens. -Break up the 30 to 45 minutes of daily recommended activity into 10- to 15-minute sessions throughout the day. -Vary your routine to prevent boredom and injuries. -Join a social group that’s focused on a specific activity, akin to ballroom dancing, bicycle riding, or hiking. Many people find it motivating to be around others who are doing the same thing. -Remember that doing some activity — even for only ten minutes — is better than doing nothing at all. A short walk around the block beats sitting on the couch. Believe it or not, those blocks add up!
Having an increase in blood flow and circulation to areas of your body helps promote cell growth and organ function. Your skin also benefits from an increase in blood circulation. Healthy skin is better able to fight off bacteria and infection that it may come in contact with. When your heart pumps at full force, your heart rate lowers, heart muscles relax and your blood pressure flows evenly and smoothly. Diabetes and Blood Circulation. If you have diabetes, you need to pay special attention to your health, including your blood circulation, by making frequent visits to your doctor. Diabetes can cause poor blood circulation throughout your body, but specifically in your legs and feet, explains the American Diabetes Association. Getting adequate exercise will help improve blood flow to your extremities and help reduce the risk for diabetic health complications.
Having increased blood circulation throughout your body will help you look and feel healthy. Your skin will have a healthy color and you will feel warm to the touch. Good blood circulation helps improve brain function and helps keep your mind sharp and focused. You will also be more equipped to handle stressful situations.
Dry skin brushing invigorates the skin, increasing blood supply to the areas brushed and bringing them oxygen and increased circulation. This ritual also warms you up on a cold winter morning!
To dry brush most effectively, brush in upward, circular motions toward your heart. Move the brush in a clockwise manner and go over each area of skin twice. Focus on the neck, behind the knees, under the arms, and general groin area for greatest results. Also focus on your lower butt and thighs to reduce cellulite. Massage therapy also helps to release contracted muscles, which in turn pushes blood towards the heart and relieves strain. Schedule a regular massage, at least once a month, to enjoyably increase your blood circulation. What better excuse than for health reasons?
Scientists say that watermelon has ingredients that deliver Viagra-like effects to the body’s blood vessels and may even increase libido. Beneficial ingredients in watermelon and other fruits and vegetables are known as phyto-nutrients, naturally occurring compounds that are bioactive, or able to react with the human body to trigger healthy reactions. In watermelons, these include lycopene, beta carotene and the rising star among its phyto-nutrients – citrulline – whose beneficial functions are now being unraveled. Among them is the ability to relax blood vessels, much like Viagra does.
Caffeine helps the heart by making small blood vessels work better, a new study has found. The research might explain why coffee-drinkers have fewer cardiovascular problems than others. The present study found that caffeine improves cardiovascular health by enabling small blood vessels to work more efficiently.
Their study was based on a small group of 27 adults who were either given regular or non-caffeinated coffee. Participants’ blood circulation was assessed using laser Doppler flowmetry. Researchers found that people who drank caffeinated coffee had 30 percent increased blood flow when compared to people who got decaf.
The study suggest that caffeine may help widen small blood vessels and reduce inflammation.