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.
Tethered Cord Syndrome
If you've never heard of tethered cord syndrome, it's likely because the condition is very rare, and thankfully so.
While this syndrome isn't typically dangerous, it can worsen if the condition is not seen. It can also cause permanent damage and diminish a person's ability to walk. But what is tethered cord syndrome?
In this article, we will briefly look at the symptoms of tethered cord syndrome, the causes, and the best ways to treat this neurological disease.
What is Tethered Cord Syndrome?
In this condition, the cord in tethered cord refers to the spinal cord.
The spinal cord is an essential component of the human body. It carries messages from the brain to all the other parts of the body through its bundle of nerves.
It occurs in a baby while it is in the womb. During development, the baby's spinal cord grows at the same pace as the other bones around it and is of the same length. But as the baby grows, the spine grows out.
But, in some cases, the spine becomes "tethered" when the cord's tail end becomes tied to the end of the body's spinal column. The spinal cord and the spine itself are different parts of the entire spine; remember that.
When the child is born, the tethered cord prevents the spinal cord from moving within the column. This doesn't affect the child as much until they start growing. Because the spinal cord cannot stretch, they start experiencing back pain and trouble walking.
Adults With Tethered Cord Syndrome
While some conditions typically become apparent in adulthood, this syndrome is not one of them.
Tethered cord syndrome is rare in adults and only occurs if the condition is not discovered or diagnosed during childhood.
Acquired tethered cord is also very rare among adults but can occur if any fatty mass at the spine's base becomes attached to the spinal cord's tip. This fatty mass can only develop if a patient has lipomyelomeningocele, a form of spina bifida.
What Are the Causes of Tethered Cord Syndrome?
There is no definitive cause of tethered cord syndrome. What we do know is that tethered cord occurs from birth with some children, and that a child with spina bifida may also have tethered cord syndrome.
Within the body, tethered cord syndrome occurs when the spinal cord end gets attached to something that doesn't let it move. What catches hold of it may include:
- Fat: Fat that grows around the spinal cord can catch it and grab hold.
- Bone: A piece of the spinal bone can attach to the spinal cord base.
- Scarring: If your child has back surgery, scars that form around the cord's bottom end can grab the spinal cord.
- Tight Ligament: This tight ligament is known as the filum terminale. This ligament is as thin as a string and is stretchy, but when tightened, it can catch and tether the spinal cord.
What Are the Symptoms of Tethered Cord Syndrome?
The most common symptoms of tethered cord syndrome include:
- Lack of bowel control: The child may have problems controlling their bowels because the nerves cannot stretch as much as they should.
- Lack of bladder control: For the same reason, because the child's spinal cord cannot stretch, the child may not feel when they want to urinate and would wet themselves without knowing.
- Back pain: The child may experience lower back pain and limited movement.
- Curved spine: Because the spinal cord is attached at the base, this may pull the spine down, causing the spine to curve.
- Trouble walking: While the child may not have issues walking before, they may begin experiencing issues walking as they grow up.
Diagnosing and Treating Tethered Cord Syndrome
If a parent notices these symptoms, their first step should be to take the child to the doctor. If the doctor suspects tethered cord syndrome, they will ask to run some tests to get a better picture of the child's spinal cord.
They may run an MRI and get a urology consultation to check if the child's bladder is affected. If results come back positive, the doctor will recommend surgery.
Treating Tethered Cord Syndrome With Surgery
While surgery may sound intimidating, it is necessary.
Surgery on the spine to correct a tethered cord is known as a laminectomy. And while this is major surgery, it's also common, so there's no need to worry. The laminectomy is compulsory if you want your child's spine fixed. If this operation is not done, it may make your child's condition even worse and result in permanent damage to the spine.
The Surgery Procedure
The patient will be given a general anesthetic, so they won't feel a thing.
During the operation, the doctor will make an incision on the patient's back and cut whatever element is tethering the cord. Once its hold is released and the cord returns to the spinal column, the surgeon will close up the incision.
This surgery takes three hours and requires a fair bit of surgical skill, so don't be concerned if your child doesn't come out within an hour.
The child will receive pain medication and fluids through IV and will be required to lie flat on their back for 2–3 days. Moving the child will be the nurse's responsibility, so you won't have to perform much care except feeding them.
Typically, children stay in the hospital for about a week, but that can vary depending on how severe their tethered cord was. Once the doctor feels comfortable knowing that the child can sit up, they'll allow you to take the child home.
As a parent, you will worry about your child being in pain because of the tethered cord.
But, if you keep an eye on their health and report to the doctor if anything seems amiss, you may be able to catch this condition in time.