Symptoms of Poor Circulation In this article, we will focus on the symptoms of poor circulation and when you should seek medical help. Signs of Poor Circulation 1. Varicose Veins If the valves in the veins of the legs are damaged, your blood will find it difficult to get back to the heart. This results in engorged veins and will eventually cause varicosities in the legs. Varicose veins are more common to those who regularly stand for long periods. 2. Painful Muscle Cramping The most common symptom of poor circulation is claudication, described as muscle discomfort or painful cramping, particularly in the legs. This is felt when you exercise or walk and usually disappears after resting your legs. The muscles that are most involved are the hips, thighs or calves. Claudication happens if there is a hindrance to the normal blood flow. For example, in atherosclerosis, where there is a buildup of cholesterol plaques in the blood vessels, the muscles cannot get enough blood during physical activity. The cramping pain is the muscle’s way of warning you that it is not getting enough blood during exercise to meet its increased demand. 3. Numbness or Weakness Reduced blood flow to different body parts may cause slow and irreversible damage to the nerves, which may be felt as tingling, numbness or weakness in that area. This is particularly alarming because having numbness on the extremities decreases your skin’s sensitivity to pain. As a result, there may be instances where your skin has already been damaged or wounded, but you cannot feel it. 4. Temperature Differences in the Extremities Poor circulation can lead to fluctuations in your skin’s temperature regulation. For example, reduced blood flow to your hands or feet may make them colder than the other parts of your body. To assess the temperature of your skin, you can use the back of your hands for a more accurate assessment. 5. Wounds That Do Not Heal or Heal Slowly Wounds heal by the different components and cells delivered through the bloodstream to the affected area. When blood flow is compromised, the healing process takes much longer and may even lead to infections. Even the slightest break in the skin may lead to catastrophic changes that could lead to amputation, especially in people with diabetes. 6. Change of Skin Color When there is insufficient blood flow, the skin may appear pale or blue (cyanosis). The change of color in the skin indicates that the oxygen-rich blood is unable to reach those tissues. The commonly affected body parts that may have this symptom are the toes, fingers, palms, soles and lips. [youmaylike] 7. Poor Hair or Nail Growth Hair and nails need the nutrients in your body to keep them healthy. Nutrients are delivered to the hair and nails through the blood. Therefore, any blockage or hindrance of the normal circulation of blood may affect the growth of healthy hair and nails, which can lead to hair loss or poor nail growth. 8. Shiny Skin on Legs Shiny skin on the legs can indicate that the skin stretched due to excess fluids in the legs. Poor circulation can cause blood pooling in the legs, resulting in fluid leakage from the blood vessels to the surrounding tissues. In turn, the skin will stretch, giving it a shiny appearance. 9. Weak Pulses When blood flow is restricted, the usual, brisk pulses on the extremities become weaker. Doctors usually include this in their physical examination to rule out any peripheral arterial disease. 10. Erectile Dysfunction in Men The penis is made up mostly of blood vessels. Penile erection happens because the arteries of the penis are filled up with blood to elongate and stiffen the organ. When there is poor circulation, blood cannot fill up the blood vessels in the penis. Most cases of impotence are a complication primarily of the arterial system. What is Poor Circulation? Poor circulation is not a condition in itself, but having any of its symptoms may indicate more serious conditions, such as: Peripheral artery disease (PAD). Uncontrolled diabetes. Blood clots. Atherosclerosis (buildup of fatty deposits in the vessels). Heart conditions. Having poor circulation may not be apparent initially. Still, whether you experience symptoms or not, it is important to be aware of them early on to help detect the underlying cause. For example, smoking, a sedentary lifestyle and obesity are all factors that increase the likelihood of a person experiencing poor circulation symptoms. In Review The symptoms of poor circulation may vary for each person. In general, conditions that cause poor circulation are easier to treat when your doctor detects it early. If you experience any of these symptoms and suspect that it may be caused by a dysfunction in your normal blood circulation, it is essential that you see your doctor for assessment and treatment right away.
Angina vs. Heart Attack
Chest pain is one of the common causes of doctor consults for adults. You may often be told that once you experience chest pain, you should consult a doctor. This is because heart disease is a serious and potentially life-threatening cause of chest pain. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. where it accounts for one out of four deaths. Coronary heart disease, what most people might consider a heart attack, is the most common type of heart disease, which occurs in about 18 million adults above the age of 20. But the question is, are people experiencing angina vs. a heart attack?
This article will discuss angina vs. heart attack, how they are similar, how they are different and most importantly, when you should seek medical help.
Angina vs. Heart Attack: What Are They?
Angina is a type of chest pain or discomfort that occurs as a result of reduced blood flow to the heart. It is the most common symptom of heart disease, experienced by around 9 million Americans.
Angina can be stable or unstable. Stable angina occurs when chest pain is encountered in the presence of certain factors, such as emotional stress, changes in temperature or during exercise and other forms of physical activity. Usually, stable angina is referred to as chest pain upon physical exertion. This is because when faced with these factors, the heart works extra hard. Stable angina is usually relieved with rest or when medications are taken to dilate the blood vessels of the heart. Assessment and management of these patients are usually done in an outpatient setting.
On the other hand, unstable angina occurs when chest pain is experienced even at rest. This doesn’t go away despite resting or taking medications. If left untreated, unstable angina can lead to a heart attack. Unstable angina is a serious symptom, and immediate assessment and management must be done. Assessment and management of these patients are usually done in an inpatient setting.
A heart attack, medically known as a myocardial infarction, occurs when the heart experiences severe blockage to blood flow and the heart doesn’t get enough oxygen, damaging the heart muscle, eventually leading to muscle death. With prolonged oxygen deprivation without medical intervention, heart attacks are fatal.
Coronary Heart Disease
Coronary heart disease is not a heart attack per se, but angina and heart attacks are sequelae of blockages of the heart vessels due to coronary heart disease. Some people with coronary heart disease might not show any signs or symptoms. For other people with coronary heart disease, they will not experience angina, and a heart attack is the first sign of coronary heart disease.
The Similarities and Differences
1. Similarity: Symptom Presentation
Angina and heart attacks are similar in their presentation. People who experience these usually present with chest pain. The type of chest pain can be the same. People with angina or heart attack usually describe their chest pain as a squeezing, stabbing or crushing type of pain. Sometimes the pain can radiate or extend to other areas of the body, such as in the shoulder or arms, jaw and neck, abdomen or back. There can also be an accompanying difficulty of breathing or a feeling of fatigue. Because of this, people think that angina is a heart attack.
2. Similarity: Causes
The cause of angina and heart attacks can be similar as well. Angina and heart attacks can be due to blockage of the heart vessels due to increased cholesterol levels or blood clots, which cause physical blockage or high blood pressure that leads to muscle thickening, leading to narrowing of the blood vessel cavity.
3. Similarity: Risk Factors
Risk factors for angina and heart attacks are also similar, including:
- High cholesterol levels.
- Persistently high or poorly controlled blood pressure.
- Poor lifestyle (sedentary activity, poor diet).
- Family history of heart disease.
It is safe to say that in order to avoid angina vs. heart attack, you should minimize having these risks, especially avoiding those that are within your control.
4. Difference: Condition Classification
Although angina and a heart attack have their similarities, they differ greatly in many ways. Angina is a symptom and usually pertains to an underlying coronary heart disease, while a heart attack or myocardial infarction is a disease in itself.
5. Difference: Severity
Angina, especially stable angina, only occurs during physical exertion or in the presence of other factors. It is not usually life-threatening, whereas heart attacks are usually life-threatening, can occur suddenly and even at rest warrant immediate medical care.
Needless to say, any type of chest pain, whether it is stable angina or not, needs the evaluation of your nearest physician.
When Should You Seek Medical Attention?
When experiencing chest pain, it is important to differentiate musculoskeletal and other nonspecific causes of chest pain from serious cardiovascular conditions. It is important to consult a physician for any new onset of chest pain so that it can be evaluated to catch serious heart or lung conditions early. Urgent medical attention should be given to those who experience chest pain that persists for more than 15 minutes, chest pain experienced at rest or chest pain associated with other symptoms, such as shortness of breath, sweating, vomiting or loss of consciousness. Do not delay consulting for these kinds of chest pain. It can save a life.