Poor Circulation often called peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is a condition that occurs due to a result of cholesterol buildup in the arteries of the lower extremities. This causes decreased blood flow to the legs and feet. This is the same type of problem that causes heart attacks and strokes when it affects the arteries to the heart or the arteries to the brain. All can lead to serious consequences if not evaluated, treated, and monitored properly.
Smokers are particularly at risk for poor peripheral arterial disease. Every time a cigarette is smoked it causes constriction of the arteries reducing the blood flow. It can take as long as 20 to 30 minutes after the cigarette for this process to reverse and if smoking goes on for a long enough period of time, sometimes damage will become irreversible. People who are overweight and have high cholesterol levels also are prone to this significant disease. Diabetics also frequently have PAD from the above factors, but in addition the small blood vessels to the feet are damaged when sugar control is improper over a long period of time. This is an extra risk for diabetics and if they smoke and have high cholesterol now have three strikes against them.
Because feet are so far away from the heart, under optimal conditions they don’t receive as much blood circulation as the rest of your body. If you notice that your feet are often reddish and thin skinned, it is recommended to seek the care of a podiatrist. It is important to make changes to your lifestyle in order to reduce risk of getting a heart attack or stroke. Exercising and maintaining a healthy lifestyle will dramatically improve conditions