Signs of Poor Circulation | Effects and Health Issues
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Signs of Poor Circulation

How To Tell If You Are Suffering From the Effects of Poor Circulation

Blood circulation is an essential component of our physical health. Blood circulation helps bring oxygen and nutrients throughout our bodies, as well as removing waste. The effects of poor circulation can be extremely harmful, even fatal, if they are not diagnosed or treated.

In this article, we’ll explore the signs of poor circulation so you can tell if you need to take action.

What is Poor Circulation?

When we talk about poor circulation, we’re referring to the failure of blood to fully circulate throughout the body. For those with poor circulation, blood often struggles to reach the arms, hands, legs, and feet. 

There is no singular cause of poor circulation. Rather, poor blood circulation often results from other health issues, sometimes multiple issues at once.

If you suspect that you have poor circulation, it’s important to determine the underlying cause and treat it before the condition worsens. First, you need to determine if you might have poor circulations. 

How Can I Tell if I Have Poor Circulation?

Some of the most common signs of poor circulation include:

  • Muscle cramps, especially after sitting for a long time. Poor circulation means essential nutrients don’t get to where they need to go, which can cause stiffening and cramping.
  • Fatigue, which can be exacerbated by the heart working harder to pump blood. Feeling tired and a general lack of energy can result from poor circulation.
  • Ulcers in feet or legs. The body cannot properly heal without strong circulation, which can result in painful ulcers. These can also result when blood pools in the veins.
  • Changes in skin color. If the skin appears blue or pale, it could mean that an insufficient amount of arterial blood is getting to the skin tissue. Purple skin can result from leaking capillaries. Watch for discoloration in the feet, hands, nose, ears, lips, or nipples. You might also notice blotches or blemishes.
  • Swelling. Poor blood circulation can create a situation called edema, in which fluid accumulates in the feet, ankles, or legs. Edema could also be a sign of heart troubles. If shoes, clothing, or jewelry are starting to feel tight, you may want to get checked for edema.
  • Cold feet or hands. For people with poor circulation, hands and feet will experience different temperatures compared to the rest of the body. This occurs when blood cannot flow at regular rates.
  • Cognitive problems. Difficulty concentrating, memory loss, or other cognitive dysfunctions can result due to a lack of blood flow to the brain or from poor blood pressure.
  • Digestion problems. Healthy digestion requires strong blood flow. Some digestive symptoms of poor circulation include diarrhea, constipation, cramping, bloody stool, and abdominal pain.
  • Varicose veins become more visible under poor circulation, and they indicate that the body is struggling to return blood to the heart.

Other effects of poor circulation include:

  • Tingling or feeling a sensation like pins and needles
  • Dizziness
  • Weight loss
  • Dry skin, even when you are hydrated
  • Stinging or throbbing pain in your limbs
  • Numbness in the extremities
  • Erectile Dysfunction

If you experience the above symptoms, it could mean that you have a health condition that is causing poor circulation. Diagnosing it is the next step. 

What Does it Mean if I Have Poor Circulation?

A number of health conditions are correlated with poor circulation. Some of the most common include:


Atherosclerosis occurs when arteries stiffen due to buildup of plaque (fatty material) in arteries and blood vessels. If it occurs in the arteries that deliver blood to the brain, it could cause a stroke

Peripheral artery disease (PAD)

This is a condition related to and often caused when atherosclerosis blocks arteries. When arteries are blocked, they cannot provide the needed oxygen and nutrients to arms, legs, and internal organs. PAD is often correlated with narrowed blood vessels.

Reynaud’s Disease

If you constantly suffer from cold hands or cold feet, it’s possible that you have Reynaud’s disease. This occurs when the small arteries in the hands and toes narrow, leading to a slowed rate of circulation. It can also affect the ears, nipples, nose, and lips. Reynaud’s disease is more common in women and people who live in cold climates. 

Varicose Veins

Varicose veins are enlarged, damaged veins caused by valve failure. They can be seen beneath the skin. These veins can’t move blood as efficiently as normal veins, and they can also cause blood clots. Varicose veins are largely determined by genetics, as well as conditions like obesity and gender (they more common in women).

Blood Clots

Blood clots block the flow of blood. Clots can be partial or total, and they often cause circulation problems in legs and arms. They can develop for a variety of reasons, including atrial fibrillation or deep vein thrombosis. If a blood clot breaks free, it can reach the heart or lungs, potentially causing a stroke. Preventative treatment can prevent fatal outcomes. 


Poor circulation in buttocks, calves, and thighs are often associated with diabetes, which can result in cramping in legs. These symptoms may be harder to notice for those with diabetic neuropathy, which can cause a lack of sensation in the extremities. 


Being obese or overweight puts a strain on the circulatory system. Varicose veins and blood vessel problems are often tied to being obese or overweight. 

What Can I Do About Poor Circulation?

If you suspect that you have poor circulation, seek medical advice to learn more about obtaining an official diagnosis. Blood sugar tests, ultrasounds, blood pressure tests, and others can help diagnose some of the conditions that cause poor circulation. 

To learn more about options for diagnosing and treating poor circulation at the Novus Anti-Aging Center in Los Angeles and Studio City, California, simply fill out the form below. 

Healthy blood flow affects many of our bodies’ systems. By diagnosing the causes of your poor circulation, you can begin taking steps to keep your blood flowing as strong and healthy as possible.


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