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About Poor Leg Circulation

Updated on May 25, 2011

Poor circulation in the lower extremities can seem like a simple part of the aging process. However, it’s important to understand that poor circulation in the legs can be a threatening symptom to other diseases and conditions. It can even mean that you aren’t taking proper care of your body.

Poor circulation, or restricted blood flow, can be caused by numerous different factors and can affect any area of the body. However, the extremities of the body are more likely to developed poor circulation than other areas of the body. Symptoms of poor leg circulation tend to develop gradually over a period of time. Cramping, fatigue, and pain in the legs during activities are all symptoms of the early stages of poor leg circulation. Pain will tend to come and go, diminishing with rest and reoccurring again during activity. Cramping in the legs during sleep, having your feet feel cold to the touch, and having restless legs that fall asleep are also symptoms of poor leg circulation.  

The weather can have its hand in causing poor knee and leg circulation. Extreme colds can cause blood vessels to constrict. This can cut off normal blood supply and cause poor circulation.  

There are several other factors that can affect your blood circulation that you control. Smoking and excessive alcohol use can also cause blood vessels to constrict and cause there to be poor circulation in the legs. Eating an improper diet and lack of exercise can lead to obesity, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol which are all dangerous to your circulation system and can cause poor circulation.

The most common diseases that cause poor circulation in the legs are peripheral vascular disease, or PVD, and peripheral artery disease, or PAD. Both of these diseases cause blood to become insufficient due to being unable to flow through a vein or artery that has built up plaque that has hardened. Diabetes, kidney disease, heart disease, and lung disease can also affect the circulatory system, causing poor circulation in the legs.

Deep venous thrombosis, also referred to as thrombophlebitis, is when a blood clot is embedded in a major vein in the lower legs, thighs, or pelvis and can cause poor circulation. Symptoms of acute venous thrombosis include tenderness, blue discoloration of the extremities, warming feeling, pain, swelling, and a distention of the veins that affect the groin, buttock, thighs, and lower abdomen. However, it is important to know that almost thirty to fifty percent of individuals with this condition do not experience any symptoms. Pain or soreness when walking or simply standing is common in deep venous thrombosis. Relief is often found only by resting and elevating the leg can be a sign of the chronic stage of venous thrombosis.

A common treatment for poor lower leg and knee circulation is to wear graduated compression hosieries. These types of socks gradually get tighter and increases circulation in the legs. Many people think that poor circulation is a normal symptom of getting older. However, it is a very serious condition because it could be your body’s way of signaling you that something else isn’t right. Diseases such as deep venous thrombosis can be life threatening if proper care is not sought. If you feel you’re having circulatory problems, the first step is to see your doctor.

There are several things you can do to help prevent damage to be caused to your circulatory system. Exercise and managing your diet are the two most important things you can do for your body and circulatory system. Biking, swimming, and walking can improve your circulatory flow tremendously. If you smoke, stopping can help increase your circulatory system’s performance and limiting excessive drinking of alcohol and caffeinated beverages such as sodas and coffee can also help.


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    • Mrs. J. B. profile image

      Mrs. J. B. 6 years ago from Southern California

      This is a fantastic hub. great info and very very educational. Voted Up