Your circulatory system has a pretty thankless job. Your bloodstream represents the superhighway of your body, the truckers and couriers carrying supplies from place to place. When circulation slows, it’s like a traffic jam—nutrients don’t get to muscles and nerves, waste products can’t be carried away as efficiently, shipments get missed. The end result can be damage to tissues, nerve problems, and a reduction in your body’s ability to heal itself from injury.
Here are some strategies to keep your blood pumping as efficiently as possible:
- Quit smoking. Cigarettes contribute significantly to atherosclerosis, a narrowing of the arteries that contributes to poor circulation.
- Manage your blood sugar. Diabetes is one of the leading causes of poor circulation, and improper management of the condition contributes to progression of the disease.
- Get plenty of exercise. Smaller blood vessels (known as collateral vessels) can grow and develop in response to regular exercise, increasing blood flow and even helping to bypass damaged or restricted arteries. Don’t go overboard, though, especially if you have significant nerve damage or have been sedentary for a while. Going for a short walk or doing some work around the house every day is a great start; you can increase the intensity of your workouts slowly, as you are able.
- Eat healthy. Of course, this is good general purpose fitness advice, but a diet rich in veggies, fruits, and fiber and low in refined sugars can make a big difference.
- Limit alcohol intake. A drink every now and then is fine, but alcohol does slow your circulation, especially drinking in excess.
- In some cases, we may prescribe certain medication to help boost your circulation if lifestyle changes aren’t enough. It is not a substitute for lifestyle changes, however, and may not be right for you if you have certain medical conditions.
Dr. Keith McSpadden is committed to serving the Greater Austin area with the best possible foot and ankle care, including circulatory conditions such as diabetes, PAD, atherosclerosis, and more. To set up an appointment with the doctor in Cedar Park or Round Rock, TX, give us a call today at 512-593-2949.