Signs of poor circulation

In a previous column we discussed the importance of having good circulation. We described the circulatory system (heart, arteries, veins, and lymphatic vessels) as being vitally important for delivering nutrients to and removing waste from the cells of the body. When the circulatory system is not functioning optimally symptoms like headaches, tinnitus, chronic pain, fatigue, cold extremities, dry skin, and unwanted weight gain can manifest. In this week’s column we will discuss the signs and symptoms of poor circulation.

It is important to make a distinction here between life-threatening poor circulation that causes acute illness and low-grade poor circulation that plays a significant role in chronic disease. Many of the signs of significantly poor circulation are obvious at first glance like pale skin, cold extremities, easy bruising, stroke, angina, and cardiovascular injury. However, many of the signs of low-grade poor circulation are not so obvious and require proper examination.


Chronic Pain

One of the most significant signs of low-grade poor circulation is chronic musculoskeletal pain, especially pain that wanders or migrates through several different areas of the body. The universal sign of poor oxygenation and blood supply is pain. The muscle cells in the de-oxygenated area will constrict, spasm, and send out pain signals. This can often play a significant role in conditions like fibromyalgia.



Fatigue can be another major sign of low-grade poor circulation. Every cell of the body needs a rich supply of nutrients to be metabolically active. When circulation is deficient or sub-optimal the cells do not receive the nutrients they need in the amounts they require. This can lead to sluggish cellular metabolism and fatigue.


Swelling and Edema

Swelling and edema is a common sign of poor circulation. The overlooked problem is often in the lymphatic system. Every cell, every tissue, and every organ in the body produces metabolic waste, toxins, and by-products that are carried away through the lymphatic channels in the body. These lymphatic vessels are dependent on gravity and muscle contraction to drive their circulation. When the lymphatic vessels are congested or overwhelmed there tends to be an accumulation of fluid that causes swelling and edema.


Headaches, dizziness, vertigo, and tinnitus

Headaches, dizziness, vertigo, and tinnitus can be caused by a number of different potential causes. Poor circulation is something I always evaluate when patients present with any of these symptoms. If oxygen and other nutrients are not being delivered properly to areas of the brain these symptoms can present. I’ve seen a number of patients overcome these symptoms when circulation is improved.


If you are interested in learning more about cardiovascular health or would like to schedule a consultation please visit my website at www.drbrentbarlownd.com or call the clinic at 250-448-5610.


In next week’s column we will examine the most important causes of poor circulation.

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About the Author

Dr. Brent Barlow is a Naturopathic Physician practicing at The Kelowna Wellness Clinic in downtown Kelowna. Dr. Barlow has been in practice in Kelowna since graduating from the Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine in Vancouver in 2009.

Naturopathic Doctors are trained as primary care physicians, and primarily use natural medicine to treat disease and promote wellness. Dr. Barlow believes strongly in identifying and treating the causes of disease rather than focusing on the treatment of symptoms.

Naturopathic medicine utilizes diet therapy, botanical medicine, nutritional supplementation, acupuncture, spinal manipulation and other physical medicine treatments to treat the causes of disease. Dr. Barlow also trained in the specialized treatments of prolotherapy, neural therapy, intravenous nutrient infusions, and chelation therapy.

Dr. Barlow is in general practice and welcomes all individuals and families. As a naturopathic physician he is trained to treat all health conditions in the manner that best suits the goals of each individual patient. He also has special interests in natural treatments for pain management and digestive health.

To learn more about Dr. Barlow's treatments or to schedule a consultation, visit his website at www.drbrentbarlownd.com or call 250-448-5610.

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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