Circulation Problems in Your Feet and Legs
Circulation, as a general term, refers to movement, particularly in a manner that implies completing a circle. When discussing the human body, it describes the ongoing process of oxygenated blood flowing out from the heart and then returning to become re-oxygenated before heading back and repeating the cycle. If everything works as intended the system runs smoothly, but circulation problems can result in body parts not getting the nourishment they need.
Peripheral Arterial Disease
The most common circulatory problem is peripheral arterial disease (PAD). This is a condition where legs and feet do not receive sufficient blood flow on account of atherosclerosis – a widespread accumulation of fatty deposits along the artery walls.
There are many instances PAD does not exhibit any symptoms, but when they are present they include leg weakness or numbness, coldness in a foot or lower leg, and intermittent claudication (painful cramping that develops during physical activity).
In this circulatory problem, toes and fingers begin to feel abnormally cold or numb when exposed to even slightly cool temperatures or in response to stress. This is a result of the smaller arteries that are responsible for supplying blood to the skin becoming narrow and limiting circulation (vasospasm). The actual cause behind this condition is unknown, but Raynaud’s can stem from an underlying problem like carpal tunnel syndrome, arterial disease, or connective tissue diseases.
The primary symptoms of Raynaud’s disease are the cold, prickly, and numb sensations experienced by toes and fingers. When the condition is active, it can affect the skin color with a pattern that often (but not always) goes from white to blue to red.
Other Impediments to Healthy Circulation
In addition to PAD, Raynaud’s disease, and diabetes, there are other issues that can result in poor circulation. Varicose veins contain damaged valves that do not allow for an efficient movement of blood. Obesity carries the risk of blood vessel issues and an increased likelihood of PAD and diabetes. Blood clots can also entirely or partially block blood flow.
Treatment for circulation issues begins with a diagnosis of the actual problem behind the poor blood flow. Care for the respective conditions may vary, but some of the common components of treatment plans include:
- Exercise – We can help you develop an exercise plan that conditions your muscles so they use oxygen more efficiently. At the same time, cardiovascular exercises strengthens the heart so it can pump blood all the way through the body.
- Diet – Changing to a heart-healthy diet comprised of foods that are low in saturated fats and refined carbohydrates is instrumental in restoring circulation by reducing blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
- Medication – In some cases, medication to control cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels will improve circulation. For others, medications that prevent blood clots are particularly effective. Some patients respond best to medicine that provides relief from symptoms.
- Tobacco cessation – Smoking is one of the major contributing factors to circulatory issues, and giving it up is a big step in the right direction. We understand, of course, that this is not easy, but it will make a huge impact on your overall health.
- Angioplasty and surgery – The hope is always that conservative treatments are able to produce desired results, but in some cases angioplasty or bypass surgery are necessary to help restore a healthy level of blood flow.
Treating Circulation Problems in Plano, TX
Your circulatory system is essential for ensuring that every body part—including your feet and legs—gets the nourishment it needs to stay healthy and vibrant. When circulation problems arise, you need a proper diagnosis and treatment plan and Dallas Podiatry Works can help. Schedule your appointment at either our Plano or Dallas, TX offices online, or simply give us a toll-free call at (888) 716-5283 today.