What is circulation?
Blood circulates around the body: it is pumped by the heart through the arteries to deliver essential oxygen and nutrients to our cells and to collect carbon dioxide and waste products.
Plaque build-up and other factors can slow the blood down, so that some parts of the body receive insufficient blood supplies. This is known as poor blood circulation and it can affect people of all ages, not just the elderly. It can damage the brain, heart, liver, kidney and limbs.
What are the common circulation problems?
Smoking, pregnancy, eating disorders, and being overweight are just some of the causes of poor blood pressure.
You may experience swollen hands and feet or numbness and loss of warmth in your limbs. Visible signs of poor circulation include varicose veins, hair loss and weak nails. Poor circulation in the digestive tract causes constipation and weaken the immune system. When blood flow is slowed down, less fuel reaches your muscles resulting in less energy.
Left untreated, high blood pressure can increase your risk of developing a number of serious long-term health conditions, such as coronary heart disease and kidney disease.
How to improve blood circulation
Our diet, exercise levels and weight all have an effect on our blood pressure. A high blood pressure can be reduced with some simple lifestyle changes.
Exercising regularly lowers blood pressure by keeping the heart and arteries in good condition. Losing excess weight also helps to reduce blood pressure because there’s less strain on the heart.
Drinking too much alcohol can raise blood pressure so keep to the recommended limits of no more than 3–4 units a day for men and 2–3 for women. Follow a diet that is rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products – and avoid cooking with salt and eating processed foods, as these contain a lot of salt.