How to Fix Bad Circulation in the Hands and Feet: My Experience
Are your hands, feet, or legs red (or even purple) and blotchy? Do they sometimes feel numb and tingly? You may have bad circulation. This was the case for me—but luckily, it's fixable.
I had a wake-up call at the doctor's office today. I showed my primary care physician my red and blotchy legs and asked her what was wrong with me. She quickly inspected me, poked at my thigh with her finger, and said "There, see?" Um, no, I thought. She showed me how my skin is red until you push it, then it blanches, and then it quickly regains its original red color. She explained that this is the surefire way to tell if you have circulation problems.
So today, I learned that my circulation is bad. I'm 5'9", I have a big frame, and on top of that I am overweight. However, I am pretty sure that I've had poor circulation since I was very young. I can remember always complaining to my mother about the pins-and-needles feeling in my legs and feet. If this is all sounding familiar to you, you might have this condition, too. In this article, I will share what I've learned about the symptoms and treatment.
Symptoms of Poor Circulation
You might also have poor circulation and not know it. Here are some symptoms to look out for that may help you diagnose whether you have bad circulation:
- Numbness and/or tingling in the hands and feet
- A change in skin color (red, purple, and blue in extreme cases)
- Temperature change in body parts (cold feet or hands)
- Skin infections, cuts, or sores not healing as well or quickly as they should
- Muscle cramps
If you have any of these symptoms, see your doctor right away. If left to fester, a severe case of bad circulation can result in having limbs amputated, varicose veins, heart failure, stroke, and so on. Don't wait.
After receiving this shocking news at my doctor's office, I continued to poke at my red flesh and wondered what I needed to do to fix the problem. Later, as I do with any ailment or problem, I turned to Google—but I was really disappointed with the lack of quality information online.
Now that I've done a bit more research, I thought I would share my findings with you. Please keep in mind that I am not an expert; this is just what I have gathered. Try these tips. I will too, and hopefully we will get results:
- Try to avoid worsening your circulation by avoiding prolonged pressure on your elbows or knees—these are the areas that tend to cut off the circulation.
- Exercise/move regularly. Start off walking 30 minutes a day, four times a week.
- Maintain a healthy weight and eat right. Look into weight loss and fitness regimes if you are overweight. Staying at a healthy weight is crucial.
- Stay away from food products that contain: condensed milk, white refined flour, and caffeine.
- Steer clear of red meat.
- Alcohol is said to affect bad circulation. Try to maintain your consumption of alcohol and drink in moderation.
- Add more fiber to your diet by eating more fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes.
- Stay hydrated by drinking at least 5-6 glasses of water daily.
- Stop smoking if you are a smoker.
- Eat plenty of garlic.
- Drink grape juice.
- Try taking herbal supplements (vitamin E is said to help, so are ginkgo biloba and cayenne).
- Massage your hands and feet to help the blood flow. Alternatively, you can also have this done professionally with a massage therapist who may know specific pressure points to tackle for poor circulation.
- Make sure your hands and feet (and other areas affected by your bad circulation) are properly covered, especially in the cold weather.
- Try to make sessions to sit in a sauna, whirlpool, or jacuzzi.
- Take showers alternating between hot and cold (gradually—no extreme temperature changes—hot first, and then cold).
- Limit your stress and use relaxation techniques. Try meditation, yoga, and breathing exercises.
Hopefully this article will be useful to you. Please share your comments and stories below...