Circulation is critical to your overall health. Your body is constantly circulating fluids — your heart pumps approximately 5 quarts of blood through your body's blood vessels every minute. As your blood circulates, it delivers oxygen and nutrients to your cells and helps eliminate waste products.
Here at CA Heart and Vein Specialists, cardiovascular physician Majed Chane, MD, provides exceptional heart and blood vessel care to men and women in the Huntington Beach, California, area. We want patients to know the importance of good circulation and feel empowered to take some practical steps to improve circulation.
Why is good circulation important?
Maintaining optimal health requires efficient circulation. It keeps blood and oxygen flowing throughout the body, allowing every organ to function properly. It promotes faster wound healing and keeps your brain sharp and your heart healthy. Circulation can also affect your immune system because certain blood cells help fight infection.
When you have poor circulation, your blood doesn’t flow as efficiently through your system, and you may experience a variety of symptoms such as numbness and tingling of the extremities. Some conditions can make maintaining proper circulation more difficult.
What causes poor circulation?
Peripheral artery disease, obesity, anemia, untreated blood clots, uncontrolled diabetes, and hypertension can all have an impact on circulation. Lifestyle factors such as smoking can also impair circulation.
Sign and symptoms of poor circulation include:
- Trouble concentrating
- Erectile dysfunction
- Cold hands and feet
- Hair loss and thinning
- Delayed healing
If you experience any of these symptoms, discuss it with Dr. Chane.
What you can do to boost circulation
The good news is that there are practical steps you can take to boost circulation. Here are some things to try:
Increase your aerobic exercise. Running, biking, or walking all help improve circulation, as does stretching before and after exercise.
Quit smoking. Smoking is well known to damage blood vessels, promote plaque buildup in veins, and reduce blood flow. If you smoke, make it a priority to quit. Talk to your primary care provider about resources to help you quit for good.
Consume a diet rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants widen blood vessels, allowing your body to move blood around more easily.
Address iron deficiency. Don’t put off correcting an iron deficiency if you’re anemic. Low iron reduces red blood cells, which negatively impacts circulation, reducing the amount of oxygen that circulates in your blood.
Try dry brushing. Brushing your skin with a soft-bristle brush in upward strokes increases blood flow. To dry brush, begin at your feet and work your way up your body using short, circular motions.
Increase omega-3 fatty acid intake. Eating fish such as tuna, salmon, and sardines, for example, can help improve blood flow. And they’re great for heart health.
Elevate your legs. If you’re having problems with the veins in your lower legs, elevating your legs and wearing compression socks can help push blood back to your heart. They can also help reduce swelling and are helpful if you’ve been on your feet all day.
Get a massage. Getting a message is another excellent way to improve circulation. A massage not only provides great relaxation, but it also stimulates your body's blood flow.
Massages help promote healthy circulation by moving blood and lymph fluid through your limbs. Regular massages can also help you sleep better, reduce pain, and improve flexibility.
If you’re experiencing symptoms of poor circulation, or if you’re concerned that you may have circulation problems, schedule a visit with Dr. Chane by calling our office or booking online today.