Perth vascular surgeon
I am a vascular surgeon: 5 red flags indicating poor circulation
Why should you care about poor circulation?
#1 Cold feet and hands
When your feet or hands don’t get enough blood, they can feel really cold while the rest of your body feels warm.
Keep an eye out for changes like shiny skin or hair loss – these could happen when there’s not enough blood flowing to those areas. And if your blood isn’t moving well, you might also get that pins-and-needles feeling.
Sometimes, your legs might cramp up, especially when you walk (claudication). If left untreated, it could lead to more pain in your feet when you’re not moving. At night, you might even feel constant pain when you’re trying to sleep. But if you hang your feet out of bed, the pain could get better because gravity helps the blood reach your feet more easily.
So, if you ever experience these things, it could be a sign that your circulation needs some attention.
#2 Leg ulcers
Long standing sores that fail to heal within two weeks may be a sign of poor circulation.
Sores or ulcers might show up at the tips of your toes, between your toes, or around your ankles. They can hurt and even get infected, which can make you feel unwell.
These ulcers can be stubborn and take a really long time to heal. If you don’t take care of them early, they might keep coming back, causing pain, and in some cases, they could even lead to amputation. Remember, it’s essential to address them promptly.
#3 Tummy pain
Tummy pain, along with diarrhoea or blood in the stool may be a result of poor circulation to your stomach or bowels.
Particularly, feeling discomfort in your tummy when you eat might happen because there’s not enough blood flowing to your gut. As a result, some people are scared to eat and may lose weight.
When your stomach and bowels don’t receive enough blood or nutrients, they may not work properly or properly absorb the food you eat.
So, if you ever experience these symptoms, it could be an indicator that your circulation deserves some attention.
#4 Erectile dysfunction
The inability to have or maintain an erection is a common side effect of poor blood supply, particularly in men with diabetes. Blood vessels that carry blood around can get damaged, especially if diabetes isn’t controlled properly. This damage can result in poor circulation to the penis.
If blood can’t get to the penis right, it’s hard to get or keep an erection. If you’re dealing with this, talking to a doctor can help to figure things out and improve your overall blood flow.
#5 Memory loss and dizziness
When your brain doesn’t get enough blood, some brain functions may be compromised.
This may result in dizziness, memory loss and losing your balance. Sometimes, it can lead to a stroke where you might lose the ability to talk or move one side of your body. It’s a reminder that good blood flow to the brain is super important for everything your brain does.