Why Is It Important To Increase Foot Circulation
What happens if circulation is bad?
Once you already have circulation issues and peripheral neuropathy in your feet, what can be done? You know you are at increased risk for problems with your feet, but there are steps you can take to help with it.
Regular foot examinations by a health care provider are a must for appropriate diabetes foot care. The examination can be done by a podiatrist, or foot doctor, or your primary care physician.
There is a difference between a regular foot examination and a comprehensive one. In the comprehensive examination, the provider will use a 10 mm fishing line type filament to test sensation on different areas of your feet. They will ask you to close your eyes, and tell them where they touched you with the monofilament. You will indicate by referring to your toes or other parts as you deem right.
If there are any calloused areas, wounds or non-healing ulcers, or if youve ever had a non-healing ulcer, the provider will make a note of it. You may be asked questions about your overall foot care practices, and the examiner may provide some foot care practice demonstration or instruction to you.
You should follow all foot care recommendations. Its good for a person diagnosed with diabetes, poor circulation and peripheral neuropathy to see a podiatrist once per year. If you have thickened toenails, it may require you to visit more often and have your nails clipped or special treatments.
Types Of Diabetic Foot Problems
Diabetes that isnt well managed can lead to slower healing. These slow-to-heal wounds can lead to infections.
Other foot issues, like , are also common in people with diabetes. While calluses may not seem worrisome, if left untrimmed they can turn into ulcers or open sores.
People with diabetes are also at risk for Charcot joint, a condition in which a weight-bearing joint progressively degenerates, leading to bone loss and deformity.
Because of nerve damage, people with diabetes may not immediately notice that there are problems with their feet.
Over time, people with diabetic neuropathy can develop foot problems that cant be healed, which can lead to amputations. Diabetes is one of the leading causes of lower-extremity amputations in the United States.
Check Your Feet Every Day
You may have foot problems, but feel no pain in your feet. Checking your feet each day will help you spot problems early before they get worse. A good way to remember is to check your feet each evening when you take off your shoes. Also check between your toes. If you have trouble bending over to see your feet, try using a mirror to see them, or ask someone else to look at your feet.
Look for problems such as
- cuts, sores, or red spots
- swelling or fluid-filled blisters
- ingrown toenails, in which the edge of your nail grows into your skin
- corns or calluses, which are spots of rough skin caused by too much rubbing or pressure on the same spot
- plantar warts, which are flesh-colored growths on the bottom of the feet
- athletes foot
- warm spots
If you have certain foot problems that make it more likely you will develop a sore on your foot, your doctor may recommend taking the temperature of the skin on different parts of your feet. A hot spot can be the first sign that a blister or an ulcer is starting.
Cover a blister, cut, or sore with a bandage. Smooth corns and calluses as explained below.
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Nerve Supply To The Feet
Nerves are the wiring of the body. They carry messages to your brain from the rest of your body. The nerves to your feet are the most likely to be affected by diabetes.Damaged nerves can cause painful, numb or insensitive feet. Minor cuts, blisters or burns may not be felt and ulcers can develop, which you may not be aware of. Some people with neuropathy experience uncomfortable sensations such as burning, tingling and pain. This is often worse at night.It is important to remember that many people with nerve damage have no symptoms and are unaware of the problem. Nevertheless, they are still at risk of developing ulcers.
How To Improve Blood Circulation When You Have Type 2 Diabetes
More than 10% of Americans have diabetes, a chronic condition that can dramatically impair your circulation. High blood sugar levels make blood vessels stiff and narrow, interfering with the normal flow of blood. Over time, these vascular changes can lead to high blood pressure, peripheral artery disease, leg ulcers, and even lower limb amputation.
Led by Saleem Saiyad, MD, FACC, the team at Premier Vein & Vascular in Tampa, Florida, offers state-of-the-art treatments for poor circulation, along with preventive strategies to help patients improve their blood flow. If you have type 2 diabetes, here are seven tips that could help you.
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Swelling In The Lower Extremities
Poor circulation can cause fluid to accumulate in certain areas of the body. This often occurs in the legs, ankles, and feet. Edema in the lower extremities can also develop when blood collects in those areas.Symptoms of edema include:
- stiff joints
- pain in affected areas
Some people notice that they have edema because clothing or jewelry starts to feel tight. If a person with edema presses on the affected area, they may leave an indentation in the swollen skin. Also, when the fluid that contains proteins collects in the abdomen, this is known as ascites. Circulation problems and liver cirrhosis can be responsible.
Take Quick Frequent Exercise Breaks
A recent study found the frequency of exercise for people with type 2 diabetes is more important than the duration. Exercising for just three minutes every 30 minutes showed more improvement in blood flow and blood vessel dilation than longer bouts of exercise . No matter when you exercise, aim for 30 minutes total, five days a week.
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Why Its Important To Have Good Circulation
- Good circulation is an integral part of a healthy life. The benefits include:
- Healthy blood and oxygen flow throughout the body, allowing your lungs, heart, blood vessels and muscles to function properly and efficiently
- The ability to fight off and avoid sickness and diseases. With good circulation, the white blood cells in your immune system will be transported around the body as needed
- Youll keep your organs and blood vessels in the best working order. Efficient circulation helps remove waste from the body created by different organs
Different Ways To Improve Circulation In Your Legs
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Four Main Risk Factors For Type 2 Diabetes
For more information on Diabetes and living with the condition, Diabetes Canada
You have a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes if you are over the age of 40
There is a higher risk of developing type 2 if you have a parent, brother or sister with diabetes.
Another risk factor for Diabetes is being overweight or obese.
Ethnicity is also a factor: being of African, Arab, Asian, Hispanic, Indigenous, or South Asian descent can increase your risk with type 2 diabetes.
Trim Your Toenails Straight Across
Trim your toenails, when needed, after you wash and dry your feet. Using toenail clippers, trim your toenails straight across. Do not cut into the corners of your toenail. Gently smooth each nail with an emery board or nonsharp nail file. Trimming this way helps prevent cutting your skin and keeps the nails from growing into your skin.
Have a foot doctor trim your toenails if
- you cannot see, feel, or reach your feet
- your toenails are thick or yellowed
- your nails curve and grow into the skin
If you want to get a pedicure at a salon, you should bring your own nail tools to prevent getting an infection. You can ask your health care provider what other steps you can take at the salon to prevent infection.
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Symptoms Of Bad Blood Circulation In Legs
Poor circulation isnt a medical condition but a consequence of underlying health issues. While circulation issues are commonly thought of as an issue primarily affecting older individuals, they can strike at any age. When blood flow to a certain part of the body is reduced, you may experience a wide array of symptoms.
Here are some of the symptoms of low circulation in the legs:
- Tingling sensation
- Swelling in the legs or feet
- Skin discoloration
- Varicose or spider veins
Various factors like age, overall health, and even weather conditions can impact circulation. If youre experiencing any of the symptoms above, its best to speak to a medical professional. Your doctor can help you identify the cause of poor circulation and determine the best course of treatment.
Wear Shoes And Socks At All Times
Wear shoes and socks at all times. Do not walk barefoot or in just socks even when you are indoors. You could step on something and hurt your feet. You may not feel any pain and may not know that you hurt yourself.
Check the inside of your shoes before putting them on, to make sure the lining is smooth and free of pebbles or other objects.
Make sure you wear socks, stockings, or nylons with your shoes to keep from getting blisters and sores. Choose clean, lightly padded socks that fit well. Socks with no seams are best.
Wear shoes that fit well and protect your feet. Here are some tips for finding the right type of shoes:
- Walking shoes and athletic shoes are good for daily wear. They support your feet and allow them to breathe.
- Do not wear vinyl or plastic shoes, because they do not stretch or breathe.
- When buying shoes, make sure they feel good and have enough room for your toes. Buy shoes at the end of the day, when your feet are the largest, so that you can find the best fit.
- If you have a bunion, or hammertoes, which are toes that curl under your feet, you may need extra-wide or deep shoes.1 Do not wear shoes with pointed toes or high heels, because they put too much pressure on your toes.
- If your feet have changed shape, such as from Charcots foot, you may need special shoes or shoe inserts, called orthotics. You also may need inserts if you have bunions, hammertoes, or other foot problems.
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Joint Pain And Muscle Cramping
Poor circulation can cause pain in the legs, feet, arms, and hands. Cold hands and feet may ache or throb, especially as they start to warm and blood flow returns.Poor circulation in the legs and arms can also cause pain in the calf muscles. This type of pain in the legs is often worse when sitting or standing for long periods. Also, when the blood does not circulate correctly, oxygen and nutrients cannot reach tissues effectively. It can result in stiffness and cramping.
Diabetic Foot Health : How Diabetes Affect Your Feet
The reason why diabetes can be quite a complex disease to tackle is due to its far-reaching damage that it may cause to the human body.
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The Basics Of Foot Complications
Although it can hurt, diabetic nerve damage can also lessen your ability to feel pain, heat, and cold. Loss of feeling often means you may not feel a foot injury. You could have a tack or stone in your shoe and walk on it all day without knowing. You could get a blister and not feel it. You might not notice a foot injury until the skin breaks down and becomes infected.
Nerve damage can also lead to changes in the shape of your feet and toes. If your foot doesnt fit comfortably in regular shoes, ask your doctor about special therapeutic shoes or inserts, rather than forcing your feet and toes into shoes that dont fit and can cause more damage.
Diabetes can cause changes in the skin of your foot. At times your foot may become very dry. The skin may peel and crack. This problem is caused by nerve damage that affects your bodys ability to control the oil and moisture in your foot.
After bathing, dry your feet and seal in the remaining moisture with a thin coat of plain petroleum jelly, an unscented hand cream, or other such products. Do not put oils or creams between your toes. The extra moisture can lead to infection. Also, don’t soak your feetthat can dry your skin.
Using a pumice stone every day will help keep calluses under control. It is best to use the pumice stone on wet skin. Put on lotion right after you use the pumice stone.
How To Improve Circulation
When taking steps to improve your circulation, making small daily changes to your habits can greatly affect your circulatory system.
- Exercise Cardiovascular exercise will help promote natural blood flow. Choose exercises that focus on the part of the body you are having problems with. Walking is a great exercise to get your blood flowing, or if you cant get outside, try doing leg lifts, calf raises or squats. Try to exercise for at least 30 minutes, 5 days a week.
- Take frequent, quick exercise breaks For people with type 2 diabetes, the frequency of exercise is more important than the duration. Even just doing three-minute exercises every 30 minutes can improve your blood flow.
- Eat heart-healthy foods Omega-3 fatty acids like salmon and flax seeds, iron thats found in foods like red meat and spinach, and high-fiber foods like oatmeal and apples will help your blood flow stay strong.
- Maintain a low blood sugar This can reduce the build-up of fatty deposits in blood vessels. Talk with your provider about how to best maintain your insulin levels.
- Wear diabetic socks Diabetic socks can put pressure on calves and feet. This compression helps keep the veins straight and the blood flowing.
- Stop smoking Smoking can increase your risk for cardiovascular problems that eventually lead to restricted blood flow. And quitting smoking will help every system in your body function better, especially your circulatory system.
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Does Drinking Water Help Circulation
Dehydration can affect the bodys ability to circulate blood, so drinking water may help increase circulation. If youre experiencing symptoms of poor circulation, try getting up and moving around while drinking a hot cup of water.
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Get A Foot Check At Every Health Care Visit
Ask your health care team to check your feet at each visit. Take off your shoes and socks when youre in the exam room so they will remember to check your feet. At least once a year, get a thorough foot exam, including a check of the feeling and pulses in your feet.
Get a thorough foot exam at each health care visit if you have
- changes in the shape of your feet
- loss of feeling in your feet
- had foot ulcers or an amputation in the past1
Ask your health care team to show you how to care for your feet.
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Foot Care For People With Diabetes
All people with diabetes should have their feet checked at least once a year by a doctor or podiatrist. This is important to detect problems early and to prevent ulcers and other complications. You may have heard it said that diabetes causes gangrene . Most cases of gangrene result from delayed treatment of foot injuries.
How Can I Fast Get My Blood Sugar Level Down
When your blood sugar level becomes too high a condition known as hyperglycemia or high blood glucose the fastest approach to get it back to normal is to take fast-acting insulin. Exercising is another quick and efficient strategy to get blood sugar levels down. In certain instances, you should seek medical attention rather than attempting to resolve the situation at home.
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