Blood circulation plays an important part in our health and well-being. Proper blood circulation helps to transfer oxygen and important nutrients to the different areas of the body for optimal functioning. When your blood circulation is poor, foreign particles can become trapped in tissue, which can lead to diseases and other health issues.
Why exactly do these issues occur? When the blood that flows along arteries and capillaries is inadequate, a fatty substance called plaque starts to build up inside the blood vessels, causing them to narrow. This narrowing restricts blood flow, making it harder for the blood to travel around the body as it normally would. If the cells in your body do not get the proper amount of nutrition, oxygen, and energy they need to do their particular job, then problems can occur. The effect of this is most noticeable in the extremities such as the feet, toes, legs, hands, and fingers.
Here are some common reasons for poor blood circulation:
- Age: As you get older, your body stops working as optimally as it once did. Blood vessels can become harder as you age, making it more difficult for blood to pass through the body.
- Hypertension issues: Circulatory disorders, such as hypertension, occur quite frequently, especially in middle-aged and elderly people. It is caused when cholesterol plaque is deposited along the walls of the arteries, causing them to harden and constrict. This means that your blood has to exert greater force against the walls of the blood vessels than it normally would, causing your blood pressure to rise. It also means that the blood vessels start to lose their elasticity.
- Hardening of the arteries: Just like hypertension, when arteries become constricted and hardened due to the fatty deposits against their walls, proper blood circulation decreased.
- Varicose veins: Varicose veins can occur when the walls of veins lose their elasticity. Your veins contain small valves that stop blood from flowing back down the body due to gravity. These valves are supposed to close as blood is pumped through the vein, and then re-open to allow the next pump to take place. However, with varicose veins, the valves do not close completely, allowing the blood to fall back down. This creates bulges in the veins and decreases blood circulation. Poor blood circulation simply makes the problem worse, causing circulatory issues, especially in the legs.
- Poor lifestyle: Your body needs good nutrition and adequate exercise to operate well. By eating poorly and not getting enough exercise, your veins and arteries can start to harden, which prevents a sufficient amount of blood from getting to the necessary areas. As well, sitting for prolonged periods without moving or stretching can also lead to circulation issues.
Fortunately, there are simple yet effective ways that you can alleviate some of the reasons for poor blood circulation:
- Walking: Simple and enjoyable, walking is one of the easiest ways for anyone to increase their blood circulation. It also helps muscles and other tissues to function optimally.
- Massaging: Often seen only as a method of relaxation, massaging can do more than help us relax. Using a healing touch inappropriate places calms your muscles and joints, relieves stress, and promotes blood circulation.
- Herbs: Certain herbs, such as cayenne pepper and garlic, have been found to increase blood circulation. Applied externally, cayenne pepper can help with the pain associated with arthritis or lumbago. Taken internally in a capsule or tincture, cayenne pepper can stimulate the heart, regulate the blood flow, and strengthen arteries and capillaries. A regular intake of garlic can help lower cholesterol plaque levels, can stimulate the circulatory system, and lower blood pressure.
- Well-balanced diet: Eating sufficient fruits and vegetables, less junk food, and drinking more water have been effective in increasing blood circulation, reducing high blood pressure, and improving overall health. If your doctor determines that cholesterol is a cause of poor circulation, then a change in diet can help reduce your bad cholesterol and increase your circulation.
- Hot and cold showers: In the shower, applying hot and then cold water on affected areas can increase the circulation in those areas. The hot water will cause blood to rush to those areas, and the cold water will cause the blood to rush to your internal organs. Although you may shiver, your blood is actually flushing out your skin and leaving it oxygenated.
Increasing your blood circulation can help your body function at an optimal level. However, before implementing any changes in your exercise or diet, make an appointment with your doctor to discuss the methods that will best suit your lifestyle, needs, and abilities.