Signs of Poor Circulation
Poor blood circulation, otherwise known as peripheral (puh-rif-er-uhl) vascular disease, is a very common diabetes complication associated with all types of diabetes. Poor circulation leads to serious heart complications, including heart attack and stroke. Poor circulation can also lead to problems with the legs, arms, and feet, such as numbness, tingling, and slow healing wounds.
Causes of Poor Circulation
Poor circulation is generally caused when the arteries become blocked. As such, many people with poor circulation also have Type 1 diabetes, Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and high levels of fat in their bloodstreams. Good blood circulation is important because blood carries oxygen and nutrients throughout the body that help it function.
- a lack of physical activity
- poor diet
- poorly controlled blood glucose levels Check Your Pressure >>
- untreated high blood pressure
- untreated high cholesterol
Side Effects and Other Complications of Poor Blood Circulation
- slow-healing infections
- erectile dysfunction and other sexual problems
- swelling in the legs and extremities
- tingling in the legs and arms
- heart complications
- changes in skin temperature
- changes in the color of skin
- cold feet
Most diabetics can improve their circulation by modifying their diets, increasing exercise, losing weight, and taking blood sugar medications.
Stretching is a particularly important exercise for diabetics with poor circulation, as stretching will help to increase blood flow and loosen tight muscles. Also, speak with your doctor about the value of professional massages.
There are also medications that specifically treat poor circulation. These medications are often intended to reduce or prevent blood clotting. The simplest treatment is taking one adult aspirin or 2 baby aspirins each day. In extreme cases, individuals with poor circulation may want to have an angioplasty (an-jee-uh-plas-tee), or procedure that enlarges narrowed arteries.
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