Millions of individuals throughout the world suffer from poor circulation, which is an inadequacy of blood flow. The phrase is also sometimes used to refer to peripheral artery disease, a disorder that occurs when the blood supply to one's extremities and organs becomes partially or completely blocked.
Symptoms of inadequate circulation include tingling and numbness in the extremities, as well as cold hands and feet. Cramping and swelling of the legs is also a common symptom. In addition, one may experience headaches, dizziness, varicose veins and slow wound healing.
Atherosclerosis--plaque buildup in the circulatory system--is a primary risk factor for the condition. Other causes include poor nutrition, a sedentary lifestyle, and chronic disorders such as diabetes. Smoking is often responsible for the condition as well, as inhaling toxic smoke constricts blood flow.
Treatment often focuses on reducing plaque buildup on the artery walls. Depending on its cause, poor blood circulation may also be managed with medication, such as anticoagulants or anti-hypertensives. If diabetes is the cause, lifestyle changes, oral medication or insulin may be indicated.
Procedures such as angioplasty or the surgical removal of plaque may also be recommended. However, surgery is typically reserved for severe cases that are unresponsive to first line treatments. Because poor circulation can lead to serious health consequences, it is essential to recognize its symptoms and consult a licensed medical professional if they are present.