Every 34 seconds, an individual in the United States suffers from a heart attack, and every minute someone dies from a cardiovascular-related disorder. Out of the 720,000 individuals who suffer from heart attacks annually, it is the second time for about 205,000 of them. One of the most common causes of this is poor blood circulation.
Poor Blood Circulation
Heart attacks often occur with no prior warning, unless the sufferer is aware of the signs. Plaque, scar tissue, fatty material, and calcium accumulate in the vital arteries, which are responsible for supplying the heart with blood. The inhibition of blood flow causes angina or chest pain. A complete block results in a heart attack.
Signs of Improper Blood Circulation
There are several signs and causes of poor circulation. It is extremely important to be aware of all of these. It is also essential to consult a medical professional if you experience any of them. Ignoring the signs, or simply brushing them off, could be the difference between life and death.
- Constant extreme fatigue or lethargy
- Edema or swelling of lower extremities
- Tingling or numbness in any of the extremities
- Cold extremities such as feet, toes, hands and/or fingers
- Legs that feel achy or heavy
- Sores that will not heal within the normal amount of time
- Constant dizzy spells
- Poor or declining memory
- Muscle cramps or throbbing, shooting pains
Certain disorders can result in poor circulation such as Peripheral Artery Disease, varicose veins, Diabetes and obesity. Raynaud's Disease, which is another, causes the arteries of toes and hands to constrict. Two extremely prevalent causes of poor circulation are smoking and consistently consuming large amounts of fried, overly processed and fast foods.
Foods to Promote Healthy Blood Flow
There are a number of foods that can promote healthy blood flow. Certain foods react in the body similar to anti-coagulants. One of the best medicines for improper blood circulation are specific foods. Citruline is a compound found in watermelon and the body converts this into L-arginine, which is very helpful in enhancing blood flow. Consuming goji berries is excellent for blood circulation.
Both salmon and avocados contain heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids. They also promote healthy blood flow. Though keep in mind that there has been some concern of farm-raised salmon containing toxic levels of mercury. Garlic adds wonderful flavor to numerous dishes, and ingesting it strengthens arteries. It also inhibits the accumulation of plaque in the arteries.
Capsicum frutescens is found in Cayenne Pepper and reduces the stickiness of platelets. It contains vitamin C and E, which promotes circulation. Gingko biloba is rich in antioxidants, which assist in removing contaminants from the circulatory system.
Ginger Root is also said to promote healthy blood circulation. Sunflower seeds increase healthy blood flow, and sunflower oil is often recommended as a healthy alternative oil for heart patients. And for those chocolate lovers out there, there is a bit of great news. Dark chocolate has been shown to improve circulation.
There are a number of exercises that may be incorporated into weekly or daily routine to improve blood circulation. Swimming, biking, jogging and walking all enlarge heart muscles and increase its blood-pumping abilities. Exercises specifically geared toward cardio, such as kick boxing, skiing and running, are excellent exercises for circulation and the heart as well. Resistance and anaerobic routines may be the most helpful for improving blood circulation. This can be weight training, pull-ups and sit-ups.
A good daily exercise does not have to be high impact to help with strengthening the heart. Hiking is also wonderful and rewarding. Taking the kids and/or dog for a stroll in the park provides exercise as well as quality time.
If you feel you are experiencing any of these symptoms, or want to change your diet or lifestyle, please consult a physician before doing so.
Don Colbert, M.D., has been board certified in Family Practice for over 25 years and practices Anti-aging and Integrative medicine. He is a New York Times best-selling author of books such as The Bible Cure Series, What Would Jesus Eat, Deadly Emotions, What You Don't Know May Be Killing You, and many more with over 10 million books sold. He is the Medical Director of the Divine Health Wellness Center in Orlando, Florida where he has treated over 50,000 patients.
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