Today, I’m going to talk about the signs and symptoms of poor circulation in the feet and legs. Poor circulation, specifically circulation of the arteries which bring blood down into the foot and the legs, is a condition that is often under diagnosed because of the fact that the symptoms of this condition are usually fairly subtle, and the symptoms that are seen most commonly, often don’t come about until the end of the process. Poor circulation is fairly dangerous to people in that if it gets severe enough, it can cause death of tissue in the foot and legs because this tissue is starving for oxygen and nutrients that the blood would typically deliver. When there is a blockage of the artery, or if the arteries aren’t functioning properly, these nutrients as well as the oxygen that the blood delivers does not get to the tissue, and they begin to die. This can be a fairly painful process.
Signs of poor circulation
The signs of poor circulation in the feet and legs are numerous. These can include things such as a reddish or purplish discoloration on the bottom of the feet or toes. It could also include a lack of foot hair or toe hair. Pulses also can be decreased, something which your physician can be able to tell, as well as thinning of the skin, and a general cold feeling to the toes and to the foot.
Often times, people with associate different types of symptoms with poor circulation including a tingling or numbing sensation, such as when one has been seated in a cross-legged position or sitting down with pressure on their legs for quite some time. This is actually not poor circulation. What this is, is usually a compression of a nerve, so if there is a tingling, or a pins and needles like sensation, or a numbing sensation, that’s not a sign of poor circulation. That’s usually a sign of nerve compression, or sometimes even nerve disease, if no compression has been applied to the nerve itself.
Who is at risk?
People who are at risk for poor circulation the the feet or legs include people who have high blood pressure, who have diabetes, high cholesterol, are overweight, as well as people who have kidney disease and other types of conditions which can indicate that there is a lack of blood flow going into various parts of the body, the legs being one of them.
Poor circulation is easily treatable. We have newer techniques in this day and age in which the arteries can be cleaned out without necessarily having to have a major surgery to bypass the artery and provide new blood vessels going past the point where the artery is blocked. However, early diagnosis is very important for this condition. If the condition is not diagnosed in time and surgery can’t restore the circulation down to the feet and legs, people run the risk of developing gangrene, as well as amputation of the foot or even of the leg itself.
Diagnosis is fairly easy. There are some very noninvasive simple tests that can be performed that can tell what the circulation is doing and whether or not there is a decrease in the circulation pattern that needs to be monitored or treated. This can be done in the numerous specialists’ office, and the surgery is typically performed by a interventional cardiologist or by vascular surgeons. If you are suspecting you may have poor circulation or there is a history of that in your family, it’s very important to get screened and evaluated.