What is poor circulation?

Poor circulation occurs when there is inadequate blood flow to certain parts of your body. The way your blood flows throughout  your body is via your arteries and veins, which are responsible for delivering blood throughout your body and returning it back to your heart. As we age, plaque may buildup in our arteries, which can make them become clogged or blocked, otherwise known as vascular disease. When that happens, a number of health problems can take place.

What Causes Poor Circulation?

Your arteries deliver oxygen-rich blood from your heart to all of your body including your arms, legs and brain. Healthy veins allow the blood to return to the heart. When your arteries are healthy, they are smooth and unobstructed, allowing your blood to flow freely. But as we age, we begin to gradually buildup plaque in our arteries, which is a sticky substance made up of fat and cholesterol. This can cause the arteries to harden, become clogged, or even blocked (known as atherosclerosis), resulting in poor blood circulation. If left untreated, serious medical problems can occur.

Symptoms of Poor Circulation

  • Painful muscle cramping in the hip, thigh, or calf after activity
  • Leg numbness or weakness
  • Coldness in the lower leg or foot (compared to other parts of the body)
  • A poorly healing wound, sore, or ulcer on your toe, foot, or leg
  • Change in skin color, or dry, shiny skin on the legs
  • Hair loss or slower hair growth on the legs and feet
  • Slower toenail growth
  • No pulse, or a weak pulse, in the legs or feet

Watch for These Warning Signs

Many people don’t realize that your legs and feet can give an indication of blood circulation issues. Did you know that problems like foot pain, cold feet, and non-healing wounds can be a sign of poor blood flow to your veins and arteries? When that happens, it’s known as vascular or arterial disease. This lack of blood flow can become dangerous, and can lead to amputation- or worse- in serious cases. Fortunately, PVA offers an easy, painless circulation evaluation.

This connection is even more prevalent among diabetics. And because many diabetics have lost nerve sensation in their feet, they often cannot feel wounds developing there. These wounds may be non-healing due to lack of blood flow, and time is of the essence to help them preserve their limb. If left untreated, the chances of amputation increases.

Plaque buildup limits blood flow and circulation

Are you or a loved one concerned you may have poor circulation or vascular disease?

Are you at risk for poor blood circulation or vascular disease? Take our short quiz.

Learn if you may be experiencing correlating symptoms or have any risk factors.

Do you have leg pain with walking that goes away at rest?

Do you have pain in your foot or toes, even at rest?

Do you have slow or non-healing sores on your feet?

Do you have tightness, swelling, or weakness in your legs?

Do you have diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, or a family history of vascular disease?

Have you or a loved one been diagnosed with P.A.D?

Have you been told by another physician that you have leg circulation problems?

Risk Factors for Poor Circulation and Vascular Disease

Smoking Icon

(current or former)

High Blood Pressure Icon

High Blood Pressure

Health History Icon

Personal/Family History of Heart Attack or Stroke

Diabetes Icon


High Cholesterol Icon

High Cholesterol

If you are older than 50 years old, are experiencing leg pain, and have one or more of the risk factors above, you should consider requesting an appointment for a circulation evaluation.

Diabetics & Poor Circulation

Those with diabetes are at greater risk for circulation problems, and vascular or arterial disease.

Did you know that paying close attention to- and providing proper care of your feet can be life (or limb) saving for a diabetic? Diabetes often leads to circulation problems in the lower extremities, which can result in non-healing wounds, Peripheral Artery Disease (P.A.D.), or even amputation.

If you or a loved one has diabetes, this condition can put you at risk for poor blood flow in your veins and arteries, known as vascular disease. Diabetics are particularly more likely to develop circulation problems in their legs and feet. Keep an eye out for warning signs in your lower limbs, such as pain, cramping, tingling, discoloration, or wounds that seem slow to heal. These seemingly innocent symptoms can lead to harmful medical problems, such as stroke, limb loss- or even death. If you or a loved one experience these concerns, act quickly. Schedule a circulation evaluation with PVA.

Request an Appointment

Visit us at one of our 15 convenient locations throughout San Antonio and across South Texas, or enjoy a virtual telemedicine appointment in the comfort of your home.

7 Ways to Improve Circulation

There is a lot you can do to improve circulation in your legs and feet. You can start by making lifestyle changes that will greatly reduce your risk factors for poor circulation. Here are a few helpful tips to improve circulation.

Poor Circulation in Feet Can Stop You in Your Tracks

Day in and day out, 57-year-old Cindy Henderson lived with constant leg pain that prevented her from walking even the shortest of distances. For more than two years, she went from doctor to doctor without a diagnosis for her debilitating leg pain.

Poor Circulation & Foot Care

There are many causes for leg pain, but one of the main reasons is poor circulation which can lead to numerous health conditions or worsen those you already have. There are many causes of poor circulation, including diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Smokers are also at a high risk.

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