(By R. Sharp)
Circulatory problems do not begin in a day. In other words, you could call the heart a very patient organ, which can take years of abuse and when it cannot take it anymore, breaks out with symptoms.
At the outset, we need to remember that poor circulation is an outcome of certain lifestyle choices which we make which are detrimental to our health. Coupled with these are factors like imbalanced diet and lack of physical exercise. All these factors lead to fatty deposits on the arterial walls, which, when hardened, are called plaques. These plaques then block or create obstructions to the smooth passage of blood to and from the heart.
Plaques take a long time to be formed; that is the reason, we find circulatory problems affecting the elderly more often than they affect children. Our food habits also add to an unhealthy build-up of cholesterol which may increase the viscosity of the blood, which again creates anomaly in the smooth flow through arteries and veins.
Since the circulatory system covers our entire body, the problems can also be manifested in numerous ways. For instance:
The brain – Our brain receives 20 per cent of the blood circulated in our body. With a drop in the flow, our brain functions sub-optimally, resulting in feeling lethargic, loss of memory, lack of mental clarity, etc. Frequent unexplained headaches and sudden attacks of dizziness are also seen as symptoms of poor blood circulation to the brain.
The heart – When poor blood circulation affects the heart, the symptoms would be chest pain, high blood pressure and rise in the level of cholesterol. Difficulty in performing any common task, like climbing stairs; walking a stretch could make you very tired and breathless.
The liver – When you suffer from lack of appetite or experience sudden weight loss and your skin looks lustre-less, it is quite possible that your liver is getting ‘sluggish’ and these are the early symptoms of poor blood circulation to the liver.
The kidneys – This organ plays an important role in regulating and monitoring our blood pressure other than eliminating the waste and excess water from our bodies. When poor blood circulation affects the kidneys, we notice swelling of hands, feet and ankles, rise in blood pressure, altered heart rate and we feel tired all the time.
The limbs – Poor blood circulation can have serious impact on our arms and legs. We can experience sudden numbness of our hands, feet and fingers or suffer painful leg cramps. Symptoms of serious blood circulation problems can be varicose veins or a condition called cyanosis – which is when part of our skin turns blue or black due to lack of adequate oxygen to the concerned tissues.
Sex drive – Poor blood circulation can affect our reproductive organs as well. The symptoms are lack of sex drive and fatigue. Symptoms would also include lack of vitality. Serious blood circulation problems could also make one impotent.