Poor circulation, or peripheral vascular disease, refers to diseases of blood vessels outside the heart and brain. There is a gradual thickening and hardening of the artery walls. Poor circulation occurs when the circulatory system cannot properly work and there is poor blood flow to the body. Poor circulation is the most common disease of the arteries.
What are the risk factors of poor circulation?
Common risk factors for poor circulation include:
- Older than 50 years of age
- Family history of heart attacks or strokes
- High blood pressure and/or high cholesterol
What are the causes of poor circulation?
- Atherosclerosis disease – the gradual build up of fatty material in the arteries of the leg
- Blood clot – a blood clot can block a blood vessel
- Diabetes – diabetes is the most common cause of poor circulation
- Infection – infection can cause scarring and inflammation to the arteries causing them to narrow
- Injury – blood vessels can be injured during accidents or falls
- Inflammation – inflammation of the arteries, or arteritis, can cause narrowing of the arteries
What are poor circulation symptoms?
Not everyone who suffers from poor circulation will have symptoms. Peripheral Vascular Disease symptoms depend on which artery is affected and to what extend blood flow is restricted. Some possible Peripheral Vascular Disease symptoms include:
- Pain when walking or climbing stairs that tends to go away when you sit down
- Cramping in the legs
- Numbness, tingling or weakness in the legs, foot or toes
- Burning or aching pain in the feet while resting
- Changes in the color of the skin
- Changes in skin temperature
- Infections or sores that do not heal
What are my treatment options for poor circulation?
Treatment for poor circulation greatly depends on what is causing the disease, the severity of the disease, as well as your overall health.
- Medications – the most effective medications are those that prevent the development and progression of atherosclerosis disease, or hardening of the arteries
- Control of blood glucose – if diabetes is present, it is important to control the blood glucose levels
- Control of high blood pressure
- Control of high cholesterol
- Anticoagulants or antiplatelet agents – to prevent blood clots
- Angioplasty – can be used in more serious cases to enlarge the arteries
- Sympathetic nerve blocks
- Spinal cord stimulator
For additional information on poor circulation please call Southeast Pain Care to schedule an appointment with one of our pain management doctors.