Over 50’s Fitness & Health by Glen Barnett – Circulation Problems

“Round round get around … I get around” that’s what our blood sings as it is pumped around our bodies. However some of us can have issues with circulation in our lower extremities. Problems with circulation in the legs and feet can cause pain and lead to serious infection, clot formation or amputation. Poor circulation often has no symptoms until the problem becomes severe. People at risk for circulatory problems because of health conditions must vigilantly watch for signs of poor circulation and seek medical treatment before a serious problem develops.
Peripheral Vascular Disease
Peripheral vascular disease, also known as PVD, most commonly occurs as a result of atherosclerosis, a build up of plaque in the arteries. Arteries carry oxygenated blood from the heart to the legs and feet; any disease that slows or impedes blood flow to the lower extremities reduces oxygenation to the tissues. Cell death, or necrosis, can follow severe PVD, necessitating amputation.
Symptoms of PVD include pain when walking, numbness, colour changes, sores that don’t heal hair loss or shiny skin on the shins, and inability to maintain an erection in men. The leg and foot may feel cold to the touch. Treatment of PVD includes medications to decrease risk factors, such as blood pressure or high cholesterol medication and, in some cases, surgery to improve circulation.
Diabetes damages the blood vessels in the legs and feet and also affects the nerves. Because nerves are damaged, early changes from circulatory problems may not be felt and may worsen before being discovered. Diabetics need scrupulous foot care; any open area or sore needs immediate treatment so the area doesn’t develop an ulcer. Symptoms of poor circulation in diabetics are similar to those of PVD. Keeping blood sugars within a normal range helps prevent diabetic circulatory issues.
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
DVT develops when blood clots form in the arteries of the lower leg, most often the calf.. Prolonged bed rest; long aeroplane rides; hip, abdominal or leg surgery; and birth control pills all can cause DVT. Other potential causes include cancer, heart failure, chemotherapy, spinal cord injury and paralysis, and arterial disease. Symptoms of DVT include pain, redness, fever and swelling at the site. The main risk of DVT is that a clot might break loose and lodge elsewhere in the body, such as the lungs or brain, a condition called an embolus. Treatment includes medications to prevent the clot from enlarging and possibly medications to dissolve the clot.
Some ways to prevent poor circulation include: eating a low fat diet, being active, correct hygiene of wounds, take medications as prescribed just to name a few.
For more information call Glen 66586222 or email glen@coffscoasthc.com.au


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