What Are The Symptoms Of Poor Circulation?

Poor circulation occurs when the small blood vessels or large arteries become narrow and unable to supply blood. Generally, poor circulation is a result of underlying medical issues such as obesity, blood clots, varicose veins, and a host of others. Also, poor circulation is characterised by various symptoms ranging from minor to severe problems. Hence, it’s best to visit the Center for Vascular Medicine if you’re experiencing consistent symptoms of poor circulation.

However, if you don’t know the symptoms of poor circulation to look out for, you’re in the right place. In this article, we’ll discuss the numerous symptoms of poor circulation, both major and minor symptoms.

Symptoms Of Poor Circulation

Depending on the underlying health condition, the symptoms of poor circulation can either be easily noticed or less noticeable. However, it’s essential to note that early detection and treatment of poor circulation and underlying health conditions can help prevent severe complications. Hence, if you spot any of the following symptoms of poor circulation, make sure to visit your physician.

Cold Extremities

One of the most prevalent signs of poor circulation is having a cold sensation on the hands and feet. This cold feeling is usually caused by a reduction of blood flowing into those areas (hands, feet, fingers, and toes). The shortage of blood in the extremities occurs when blood is poorly circulated to vital organs like the lungs and heart. When this happens, the body compensates for the poor circulation by rushing blood into these organs and away from the extremities. This will consequently cause the extremities to become substantially colder than the other parts of the body.

Tingling and Numbness in Extremities

Another prevalent symptom of poor circulation is tingling and numbness in the extremities such as fingers, toes, and others. It is characterized by having a sensation of tiny pins and needles lined up at the affected areas. The tingling and numbness are often due to restricted blood flow caused by hardened or constricted blood vessels.


Swelling is one of the severe symptoms of poor circulation, which could end up causing serious health complications. This symptom is characterized by accumulated fluid in some body parts, and it can be referred to as edema. Edema (fluid accumulation) occurs when blood is restricted from circulating due to blocked arteries. When this happens, the stagnant or restricted blood will collect into various groups along the blood vessels and gradually build up pressure which then pushes the accumulated blood into surrounding tissues. In some cases, untreated edema can lead to heart failure. Other symptoms of edema include; stiff joints, pain in the swollen areas, heaviness, and warm skin. 

Muscle Cramping

When blood circulates the body, it supplies nutrients and oxygen to the muscles, tissues, and organs. Failure or restricted blood circulation to the muscles will cause an insufficient oxygen supply to the muscles. The shortage of oxygen in the muscles will result in muscle cramping and stiffness in the legs, arms, feet, and hands. Muscle cramping causes pain and aches in the affected areas, which may worsen after standing or sitting for a long time.

Varicose Veins

Varicose veins are commonly experienced by one in three adults and are characterized by vein protrusion at the back of the leg. If a person already has varicose veins, poor circulation can make the veins appear more visible and swollen. Other symptoms of varicose veins include; leg pain, itching, heaviness, and swelling.

Skin Discoloration

Skin discolouration is another prominent symptom of poor circulation. When there’s a shortage of blood supply to the body tissues, it could cause the skin to appear blue or pale. In some cases, the skin can appear purple when damaged blood capillaries cause discolouration. Skin discolouration can be noticed on the hand, ears, feet, lips, nose, and others.

Cognitive Impairment

Poor circulation can affect the normal functioning of the brain. It can lead to concentration difficulties, learning difficulties, memory loss, and more. This symptom occurs when there’s a reduction in the blood flowing into the brain and other parts of the body. 

Digestive Problems

The digestive system is powered by adequate blood flow. The blood flow helps to distribute digested nutrients due to various parts of the body. However, when there is poor circulation, the nutrients that should be circulated will be accumulated and collected in the abdominal lining, hence leading to various issues such as diarrhoea, constipation, and stomach pain.

If you notice any of the symptoms mentioned above, endeavor to see a doctor immediately. They are in the best position to diagnose you adequately.

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