Poor Blood Circulation – What Are the Causes and Symptoms?

Blood circulation holds an utmost importance as it is the only source through which nutrients can reach to any part of the body – to every tissue and cell. Along with nutrients, blood circulation is also responsible for carrying oxygen to the body parts and the brain. It also collects the impure blood and carries to the lungs to purify it. Your glowing skin is also a sign that your blood circulation is on a healthier note. However, when the flow of blood to a specific part of the body reduces, you might experience the signs of poor circulation. This phenomenon is more common in the legs and arms.

Poor circulation is not a condition itself, In fact, it is a major sign of underlying health disorders. Many health conditions can give rise to poor circulation and its symptoms. Arterial issues, obesity, heart ailments and diabetes are some of the health issues that cause poor circulation. Thus, if you are dealing with any of these issues, you need to get treated for them in order to avoid poor circulation and its negative consequences efficiently.

What are the symptoms of poor circulation?

You need to check for following symptoms to understand you have poor circulation issue.

  • Tingling
  • Numbness especially in the extremities
  • Pain
  • Muscle cramps
  • Throbbing pain in the limbs

As mentioned earlier, poor circulation is a result of underlying health disorders. Therefore, each underlying health issues come up with unique symptoms along with poor circulation. For instance, peripheral arterial disease might give you erectile dysfunction along with poor circulation.

What causes poor circulation?

Peripheral artery disease

In this condition, the blood vessels shrink in size causing poor circulation, especially in the legs. In association with a condition called atherosclerosis, arteries become hard due to deposition of plaque which decreases the blood flow to the legs causing immense pain. Over time, the condition can cause tingling, tissue damage, nerve damage, and numbness. If the situation is left untreated, the condition might lead to a stroke. It affects the carotid artery – a major blood vessel carrying blood to the brain. When the plaque build-up is inside the arteries of the heart, it might result in a heart attack. The condition is common in people in their late fifties and in smokers.

Blood clots

They can form anywhere but the ones that form in the arms or legs are responsible for causing poor circulation issues. Blood clots restrict the flow of blood, either partially or fully. If the blood clot detaches from its original position, it might travel to other parts of the body causing a blockage at that body part. And this increases the threat for causing a stroke or a heart attack.

Varicose veins

These veins are the result of valve failure. They appear engorged and found on the back of the legs. As the damaged veins can’t move blood efficiently, they cause poor circulation issues. Varicose veins might cause blood clots but it is a rare phenomenon.


Not just elevated blood sugar levels, diabetes can give you poor circulation problem as well. It includes craps in legs, pain in the calves, thighs etc. People with severe diabetes might have a problem detecting poor circulation issue. It happens because diabetic neuropathy demolishes sensation in the arms and legs. Moreover, diabetes leads to heart ailments, blood vessels issues etc.


If you are overweight or obese, sitting or standing for longer hours can cause poor circulation problem. Obesity increases your chances of getting varicose veins and blood vessel disorders.

Raynaud’s disease

This disease affects small arteries in your hands and toes and makes them narrow. This results in poor circulation in every cell and organ of the body. The symptoms occur only in cold temperature and in a stressful situation. Along with hands and toes, other body parts such as ears, nipples, nose and lips can be affected by the disorder. Women and people live in cold climate are likely to suffer.