Poor circulation is where parts of your body, especially the hands and feet, receive insufficient amounts of blood. Excess sugar in the bloodstream of people with diabetes can cause blood vessels to narrow, which reduces the amount of blood flowing. This can lead to a host of complications from minor aches and nerve damage in the feet to peripheral artery disease (PAD), heart attack and stroke.
That's why it's essential to be aware of circulatory issues so they can be addressed promptly and not cause further complications. To help you understand what to look out for, we've compiled this list of some of the most common warning signs of poor circulation.
Hair Loss on Feet and Legs
When the blood is unable to provide sufficient nutrients for hair growth, hair loss will occur. Over a period of a few months, you may notice hair not growing on your legs, feet and ankles, or it may grow at a slower rate than usual.
Dry or Cracked Skin
With less blood getting to cells of the feet, the skin can become dry and cracked. New cells are not created as quickly as they are in a healthy individual, and the old dead cells show up as dry skin, which can soon become open wounds.
Cold Hands and Feet
Cold hands and feet often point to circulation problems. Less blood traveling to the extremities might mean they feel icy cold even when the rest of your body has a normal temperature. You may put on a pair of gloves or an extra pair of socks to ease your discomfort, but this will not address the underlying cause.
Tingling Sensation In The Hands and Feet
If you've ever sat on your hand or laid on your arm for too long, you will no doubt have experienced a tingling or prickling sensation, sometimes called pins and needles. It may have even felt like your arm or hand wasn't connected to the rest of you. This was because you had applied too much pressure to these parts of the body, which prevented the blood from flowing. However, if you experience the tingling sensation without reason, such as when you´re sitting normally, you could be suffering from poor circulation
Dizziness When Standing Up
Feeling lightheaded when you get up from a chair or sofa or during physical activity often means there isn't enough blood getting to your brain. The cause could be a drop in blood volume that leads to inadequate blood flow.
Slow Healing Wounds
Circulation is essential to the wound healing process. When you're injured, your blood carries oxygen, extra nutrients and white blood cells to the damaged tissue. However, if you suffer from poor circulation, not enough blood will reach the wound, delaying healing. The longer an injury takes to heal, the greater the risk of infection and complications such as amputation.
If you feel more tired than usual more often than usual, you could be suffering from fatigue. One explanation might be that due to poor circulation, blood flow is slower, which can drain your energy levels and make you feel tired quicker.
The inability to get and maintain an erection is a common complication among men who have diabetes. According to the Boston University School of Medicine, it affects about 50% of men with type 2 diabetes. Damage to blood vessels from long-term uncontrolled high blood sugar can reduce the amount of blood filling the chambers of the penis.
In healthy individuals, fingernail and toenail cells grow quickly and continually regenerate. When you have poor circulation, your nails may not receive the oxygen and nutrients they need. As a result, they'll weaken, feel brittle and may crack and fall out.
Poor circulation can cause the skin in your fingers, toes and nails to turn a blueish color. This is known as cyanosis, which means there is too little oxygen reaching parts of your body. Diabetes can also affect the cells that make skin pigment which also changes the skin's color.
Help For Poor Circulation
If you have any of the symptoms outlined above, you should speak to a healthcare professional. The danger of ignoring them is you run the risk of more severe problems such as heart attack or stroke.
At Midwest Institute for Non-Surgical Therapy (MINT), we specialize in vascular treatments to restore blood flow and improve your poor circulation. Dr. Akinwande and the team can treat you at one of four convenient locations throughout the St Louis area. Call MINT today or book an appointment online.