Blood circulation describes the hearts’ ability to pump unrestricted blood throughout the body by flowing through a network of blood vessels. Arteries are blood vessels carrying blood from the heart and veins are blood vessels that return blood to the heart. The free movement of oxygen-rich blood is required for all healthy bodily functions including the transference of nutrients to tissues, the movement of waste and vascular health and physical strength. Peripheral artery disease is caused by a poor circulation in the lower extremities. Testing your blood pressure is an important way to catch circulatory problems.
Four Tips for Improved Circulation
The circulatory system requires healthy muscles to contract around veins and stimulate the flow of blood back towards the heart. Circulation problems can affect anyone but are especially prevalent in individuals who are not active. Here are some tips for improving circulation and encouraging healthy organs, blood vessels and veins.
1. Dietary Changes
A healthy diet is recommended to improve circulation by lowering unhealthy cholesterol. The Mediterranean diet is cardiologist approved, because it includes healthy foods like nuts, olive oil, fish, fruits, grains and vegetables. It is also encouraged for individuals with high cholesterol or for anyone diagnosed with peripheral artery disease (P.A.D.), diabetes, kidney issues or other health conditions connected to high cholesterol.
Eating oily fish that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids will promote cardiovascular health and improve circulation. Salmon, sardines, mackerel and tuna are high in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acid supplements are also an option, and Kale is recommended for individuals who enjoys a vegetarian or vegan diet.
2. Walking and Movement
Adding exercise to your daily regime is advised by specialists at the Vascular Institute of Dickson. Walking is a highly beneficial, low-impact exercise that encourages weight loss or the maintenance of a healthy weight. Muscular contraction in the legs encourages the upward movement of blood through the veins. Walking improves circulation by stimulating the large veins in the legs.
Stretching movements also encourage the circulation of blood, which carries oxygen and nutrients that are necessary for function and flexibility. The circulation of blood helps the body to improve faster. Stretching relieves stress and encourages circulation to areas of the body that need blood flow to relax like the neck and shoulders. Simple movements such as walking and stretching are effective ways to substantially increase circulation.
3. Stop Smoking
Improving your circulation is easiest when you stop smoking. Blood clots are more common in individuals who smoke, as are swollen feet and ankles. Swollen feet and ankles hinder circulation by reducing the movement of blood flow. Smoking can lead to damage blood vessels and veins, which decreases the heart’s ability to pump. Stop smoking to improve your circulation.
4. Reduce Stress
Reduce stress to improve your circulation. Listen to relaxing music, meditate, take calming breaths or take a relaxing yoga class. There are activities that can increase your circulation while reducing stress. This will be a double benefit to your circulation and improve your hearts health and your overall physical function.
Cardiology testing for Peripheral Artery Disease (P.A.D.) will include a review of your health history, any symptoms that you are experiencing and the measurement of the blood pressure in your ankle and your arm. The blood pressure in your ankle usually is 90 percent of your arm’s blood pressure. If it is lower than this, you most likely have poor circulation caused by narrow leg arteries or P.A.D. Call 615-441-4435 to request an appointment with a cardiologist at Vascular Institute of Dickson.