Q: What can happen if I have low blood circulation in my muscles? – A.C.
A: Depending on the arteries that are affected and where the blockage is, different muscle groups can be affected:
- Buttock and hip
- Calf (most common)
- Foot (less common)
Some people describe burning or numbness. There also can be severe blockages with no pain at all. Often this is because the body grows blood vessels that “bypass” the blockages, called collateral circulation.
- Wounds that heal poorly
- Legs are cooler than the arms
- Shiny skin over the legs
- Loss of hair on the legs
- Decreased pulses in the feet
Atherosclerosis causes peripheral artery disease, coronary artery disease and strokes through the same general process. For this reason, the risk factors for peripheral artery disease are the same as for heart attacks and strokes:
- Abnormal cholesterol
- Cigarette smoking
- High blood pressure
Diabetes seems to be particularly important in the development of peripheral artery disease. People with diabetes have worse peripheral artery disease, and tend to improve less with treatment.
Some foods to help increase blood flow are:
Oranges and other citrus fruits high vitamin C are natural blood thinners and are said to strengthen capillary walls and prevent plaque build-up which leads to poor circulation.
Cocoa contains flavonoids which is naturally found in plants and fruits and has been well linked to improving blood circulation. A study published in the Circulation Journal showed that dark chocolate rich in natural flavonoids improved blood circulation when compared with white chocolate with no flavonoids.
Cayenne is available as a fresh pepper or dried spice and has been associated with increasing metabolic rate and…