Poor circulation in the foot or peripheral vascular disease is triggered by clogged up arteries and veins that supply blood to the extremities. The blood vessels that are far away from the heart can become obstructed due to the accumulation of plaque due to atherosclerosis. These congested peripheral vessels can progress to a condition called as ischemia which is described as lack of oxygen to the muscles. This condition results to cramping and pain.
If a doctor is consulted, a detailed history and physical exam will be carried out to determine the overall health status of the individual. An ultrasound, angiography, MRI or X-ray are carried out in order to assess the health of the blood vessels. If an ultrasound is performed, it utilizes sound waves to provide an image of the blood flowing through the vessels while angiography utilizes dye that is injected into the vessels to track the flow of blood.
Symptoms of poor circulation
The poor circulation in the feet can affect one or both sides of the body and usually leads to the development of specific symptoms. The painful cramping in the thigh is an indication of poor circulation. The cramping and pain can subside with rest. If you want to learn how to properly manage pain, click here.
The other symptoms include numbness or weakness of the foot with shiny or red-colored skin. There are also slow-healing sores that can develop on the feet while the toenail and hair growth can also slow down. It is important to consult a doctor right away if the individual experiences any of these symptoms.
What are the risk factors?
Those who have diabetes will put you at risk for developing poor circulation in the feet. Other risk factors include high blood pressure, smoking, elevated cholesterol, family history of poor circulation or heart disease and being overweight. If the condition is left untreated or incorrectly managed, poor circulation in the feet can lead to the development of gangrene and loss of toes or part of the foot.
Lifestyle changes and modes of treatment
It is a known fact that those who have diabetes and smoke are considered as main risk factors for developing poor circulation in the feet. The individual must quit smoking and properly manage diabetes in order to prevent the progression of poor circulation. In most cases, a regular exercise program, regulating the blood pressure and reducing the cholesterol levels are the essential lifestyle changes that can prevent the progression of poor circulation. If required, medications such as aspirin can be given to regulate this condition.
Regular foot care
Take note that poor circulation will make the feet more susceptible to injury as well as developing infection. Individuals who have poor circulation must keep their feet clean on a regular basis by bathing daily using lukewarm water and mild soap. You have to check the feet on a daily basis for calluses, corns and open sores while at the same time keeping the toenails trimmed. The shoes and socks used by the individual must comfortably fit. In case of an infection, it is important to consult a doctor as soon as possible.