How to Increase your Blood Flow Naturally
Poor Blood Flow
‘How to increase your blood flow’ is not a commonly discussed topic but it is important because poor blood flow may lead to serious health conditions.
Poor blood circulation occurs when blood can not flow freely to the heart, arms, legs, and the rest of the body. This happens after fatty materials such as cholesterol are deposited to the inner lining of blood vessels (arteries and veins). Fatty deposit builds up gradually leading to narrowing of the blood vessel. This is referred to as plaque. Plaque formation causes restriction in blood flow.
Other causes of Poor Blood Flow
Lifestyle is one of the most common causes of poor blood circulation. Smoking, poor diet, eating disorder, overweight and lack of exercise are some poor lifestyle choices that can lead to poor circulation.
Some medical conditions can also cause poor blood circulation. These include blood clot, inflammation of blood vessels and injury and diabetes. Severe cases of poor blood flow can develop in to more serious conditions like heart attack, kidney failure, stroke, aneurysm, hypertension, varicose veins and phlebitis and peripheral artery disease (PAD).
Signs and Symptoms
Signs and symptoms of poor blood circulation include tingling sensation in your hands and feet, numbness in the hands and feet, cold hands and feet, swelling in hands and feet, dry skin, change in the color of the skin, cramping of legs, cramping of muscle of the buttocks, fatigue, dizziness, shortness of breath, lack of stamina, irregular heart beat and slow wound healing. Some of these symptoms are due to poor delivery of oxygen, nutrients and vital elements.
The signs and symptoms of poor circulation start mildly and slowly worsen over time. It is important that you are able to spot these warning signs and symptoms and get them under control before they can become severe.
Poor circulation can be an indication of serious health issues. Discuss your symptoms with your health care provider as soon as possible to avoid health complications.
Increase (Improve) your blood Flow Naturally
There are many natural ways you can improve your blood circulation. Here are some tips to help you improve your blood circulation. When combined with a balanced diet and regular exercise, these can be a powerful guide for a healthier lifestyle.
Eating unhealthy foods has a negative effect on your blood flow while healthy foods can improve it. Avoid fast foods, processed foods, foods high in ‘bad’ fat and cholesterol, foods high in sugar, foods high in salt, alcohol, sugary drinks and caffeine drinks.
Foods you can eat to improve your blood flow include foods rich in fiber, garlic, peanuts, beans, onion, oily fish, foods rich in ‘good’ fats, poultry, cayenne pepper, chilli pepper, lentils, pumpkin seeds, green leafy vegetables, tomatoes, avocado, watermelon, oranges, drink plenty of water.
Quit Smoking, tobacco chews and usage of other tobacco products. When you use these products, you expose the blood stream to nicotine. Nicotine can choke blood vessels through plaque formation. It is difficult to quit smoking. So, it is best to set up a plan and consult your doctor. Your doctor is going to introduce you to the right smoking cessation program.
Regular exercise helps increase your blood circulation. Go swimming, weightlifting training and aerobic exercises. This type of exercises will boost your blood circulation.
Simple choices such as walking or riding a bicycle instead of driving to a nearby store (or bakery), use stairs instead of elevators will reduce the chance of developing blood clot. Do not stay in one position for a long period of time especially when travelling. This is also common for people with desk jobs. Get up and take a short walk about every couple of hours.
Lose weight to improve your blood circulation. When you are gaining weight, the heart is going to work harder and harder to pump blood to the extremities. Lose some weight to help your heart pump more blood to the extremities with lesser effort.
Taking a warm bath or a warm shower can temporally increase your blood flow. Warm water causes vasodilation. The blood vessels widen and more blood can flow through them.
Pressure exerted by the pushing, pulling and squeezing motion during message is great to increase blood circulation in congested areas of the body surfaces. This causes toxin to be flushed away from muscles and organs.
Stress and strain can affect blood flow in the body. Yoga has postures, breathing and relaxation techniques that regulate certain hormones in the body. Yoga can help in stress reduction and increase blood circulation of the entire body. This is worth trying!
Effects of Poor Circulation Caused by Plaque Formation
Plaque formation occurs when you have high amount of ‘bad’ fatty acid molecules in the blood. Plaque can build up in any part of the body. Plaques start developing inside the lining of the wall of a blood vessel. This then gradually protrude into the blood vessel. The fatty acid deposits slowly build up. This will results to narrowing of the blood vessel and will gradually start restricting the smooth flow of blood. The heart now has to work harder to push the blood through the arteries. Plaques stiffen with time causing the blood vessel to become rigid. Arteriosclerosis is the term generally used for thickening and hardening of blood vessels.
The rate of growth of a plaque increases with an increase in the number of risk factors present. The more risk factors present, the faster the plaque formation and the faster the condition will worsen.
Plaque build up in delicate organs in the body. If this happens in the brain, it can lead to stroke. A build up in the heart can lead to heart attack. In the blood vessels of the kidneys this can lead to kidney failure.
Plaque formation in less sensitive areas of the body like the arms or leg may lead to a condition known as Peripheral Artery Disease or PAD. If this condition is left untreated, it can lead to amputation. Symptoms of PAD include aching pain in the buttocks, thigh, hip and calf muscles, numbness in arm or leg.
Eventually a plaque may burst and chokes the blood vessel. The body reacts to repair this rupture in the same way as it would to repair a cut on the surface of the skin -- forming a blood clot. This blood clot may completely block an already narrowed blood vessel. A part of the blood clot can break away to choke a blood vessel of another part of the body such as the heart causing a heart attack, the blood vessel of the brain causing a stroke or the blood vessel of the kidney causing kidney failure.
It is important to stabilize your plaque and to prevent it from bursting. Call your health care provider if you have any symptoms of PAD or if you have any worries at all. The presence of PAD symptoms may suggest that other arteries – in the heart, brain, kidneys and other organs might be in the same condition.
A diagnostic test called Ankle Brachial Index can be performed for PAD. If you have PAD then make sure you understand the factors that might have caused the PAD and get them under control. Medications to improve your blood circulation may not work if you do not improve your lifestyle.
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