Poor circulation in hands is not a condition itself, but a result of other health issues. It can be a common problem for many people and happens when insufficient blood reaches the hands. As a result, hands become cold and clammy.
It is important to find timely treatment for poor circulation in hands. This is because the condition is not only restricted to the hands, but can also affect other body parts. If poor blood circulation in hands is left unchecked, then feet and legs may also become affected.
Plus, poor circulation in hands can also indicate other health problems. These can include atherosclerosis, obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and heart complications. However, each separate condition will cause different symptoms.
What are the symptoms of poor circulation in hands?
Bad circulation typically affects adults, but the same can even affect young children. And since everyone uses their hands for daily activities, it important to know how impaired circulation can affect them. Some of the symptoms of poor circulation in hands include the following:
Tingling sensation or numbness
Because there is a lack of blood supply, hands will tingle or feel numb. Sometimes the tingling may feel like a stinging sensation or throbbing pain in the hand.
Occasionally, the skin may also change color and appear bluish. The bluish discoloration usually occurs in the fingers.
Weakness in hands
People with poor circulation will experience some weakness in their hands. As a result, people may not be able to grip or hold objects as well.
They can also feel their hands fall asleep often, and notice cold hands despite warm temperatures. Proper blood flow helps regulate body temperature, but interrupted flow does the opposite. To get rid of the cold sensation, they may need to often rub hands.
Medically known as claudication, impaired circulation can cause muscles to cramp. This happens because there is too little blood flow being delivered.
Even when a person drinks enough water, their skin may become cracked. This is also another indicator of poor circulation in hands. The skin can become overly dry and start to peel and crack.
What are some causes of poor circulation in hands?
People can improve their condition by making certain lifestyle and dietary changes. Many triggers that cause poor circulation can be fixed in the following ways:
When people are overweight, poor circulation in hands can occur. In fact, this is one of the most common causes of the condition. By changing eating habits, it can become easier to control the problem.
People can also achieve weight control by exercising regularly.
Lack of exercise
The body uses physical activity as a secondary source of pumping blood around. In fact, it relies heavily on body movement for proper circulatory system functioning. However, with a sedentary lifestyle, the possibility of poor circulation in hands increases. Long periods of inactivity can multiply this risk and contribute to poor circulation in hands.
People with a job that requires them to sit for long periods can often suffer from this problem. To prevent this from happening, it is important to stretch and take breaks. Simply get up and walk around to improve your circulation.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
This condition affects people who use their hands a lot. Tasks like working on a computer, carpentry, or needlework can aggravate the condition.
With repetitive hand movements, the already inflamed hand tendons create pressure on the arteries. This results in affecting the regular blood supply to the hands, reducing it significantly. Hands may also appear to be swollen because of the condition.
Cubital tunnel syndrome
Cubital tunnel syndrome stretches a nerve in the elbow and causes interrupted circulation. Although it affects the elbow, its effects can be felt in the hands.
Circulatory function is impaired a little higher up in the arm, but hands can suffer from bad circulation as well. This happens because the affected nerve runs down along the forearm into the hand.
In this condition, the smaller blood vessels in the feet and legs become narrow. This action makes it harder for blood to flow freely and can cause numbing and swelling. The duration of numbing or swelling can be anywhere between a few minutes to a few hours.
The symptoms of this disease are typically felt in cold temperatures or when stressed.
This is a medical condition when plaque starts to build up in the arteries. The plaque accumulation narrows the arteries and restricts the blood flow to the area. As a result the individual experiences numbness, tingling, nerve damage or tissue damage.
In later stages of arteriosclerosis, plaque buildup can increase the risk of a stroke. Or, if buildup happens in the arteries in the heart, the risk of a heart attack is more likely.
Diabetes can also be responsible for impaired circulation in the body. This can result in muscle cramping. However, many diabetics may never experience any discomfort if undergoing diabetic neuropathy.
Smoking and drug abuse
In some instances, excessive smoking and drug abuse can cause interrupted blood circulation. Nicotine has a very powerful effect on arteries. Aside from being a stimulant that speeds up heartbeat, it also raises blood pressure. Nicotine is also a vasoconstrictor, which is something that constricts arteries.
Likewise, frequent use off intravenous drugs can also affect and damage blood vessels. With repeated use, the damage intensifies and clots may begin to form. Blood clots can inhibit the partial or entire flow of blood.
Clots can eventually block veins and cause symptoms like skin discoloration and sharp pain. Other indicators of poor blood circulation include cold hands or feet.
Why is proper circulation important?
Blood circulation is one of the most important functions in the body. Good blood flow in the body is vital because blood supplies oxygen and nutrients to all body parts. Every cell in the body needs this oxygen and nutrition to function properly. At the same time, each cell also produces waste that needs to be carried away and eliminated.
If the blood supply becomes impaired, then cells start to suffer and can cause health problems. Impaired circulation also means that important organs are not getting enough oxygen and nutrients.
How can poor circulation in hands be treated?
When detected on time, health conditions that lead to poor circulation in hands are treatable. For effective treatment, it’s important to address the underlying cause, not just the symptoms.
A medical exam can help diagnose the underlying cause. Your doctor may also decide to run other tests to detect inflammatory conditions, or suggest a blood sugar test for diabetes. Further testing can include an ultrasound or CT scan, or a blood pressure test.
After detecting the cause of poor circulation in hands, your doctor can then choose a treatment method.
Some of these treatments include the following ideas:
Dietary options are important. These include foods to eat and others to avoid.
Foods to eat
Adding certain foods to the diet can benefit and improve poor circulation in hands. Some of the top circulation boosting foods can include
- Dark chocolate
- Cayenne pepper
- Sunflower seeds
- Ginger root
- Ginkgo biloba
- Goji berries
Ginkgo biloba is known for dilating blood vessels and enhancing circulation. Garlic cleanses the blood and helps prevent plaque buildup to improve circulation.
Antioxidant rich foods like pomegranate, berries and oranges are beneficial for improving circulation. Also, foods with vitamins A, C and E have the potential to prevent the buildup of arterial plaque.
Foods to avoid
At the same time avoid fatty foods that can affect the circulatory system by building plaque. Saturated fat promotes cholesterol deposits and easier plaque buildup.
Another consideration is to limit sugar, salt and processed foods. These can have a negative effect on blood circulation. Remember that high sugar and salt content contribute to conditions that affect blood flow.
Essential oil massage
When suffering from poor circulation symptoms like numbness or tingling, try a hand massage. Muscle soreness can be treated with an essential oil massage.
Use rosemary essential oil mixed with a carrier oil such as olive or almond. Prepare massage oil with a ratio or 25-30 drops per 2 ounces respectively. Massage to relieve poor circulation in hands.
Alternately, mix 10 drops of eucalyptus oil, 20 drops of clary sage and 2 ounces of a carrier oil.
Taking hot and cold showers is a good way to improve circulation. Alternating between hot and cold water does two things for circulation.
First, hot water dilates the blood vessels, rushes blood to the skin and feeds it. Then, followed by cold water, the blood rushes to the internal organs. This dual action flushes the blood from the skin leaving it oxygenated.
When followed by hot water, the blood returns from the organs, flushing them this time and back to the skin.
This rapid forcing of the blood increases circulation and can also be done on specific body parts. The same method can also be applied to correct poor circulation in the hands.
When administering hydrotherapy, never to start off with very cold or very hot water. Instead, slowly increase the temperature difference hot and cold.
Whether poor circulation is limited to hands or happens elsewhere, exercise can help. Exercise dilates blood vessels which increases blood flow. Even 30 minutes of daily exercise can improve blood flow and is important for people who sit for long times.
Make it a habit to take a break from work or other tasks and stretch your muscles. Take a quick, short walk to work larger muscles or do simple hand exercises to work the palms and fingers. On the one hand, exercise increases the speed of oxygen reaching the cells. On the other, it also speeds up the process of waste elimination from the cells.
Simple hand exercises such as thumb extensions, finger stretches and claw stretches are easy. For more variety, add in grip strengtheners, pinch strengtheners and fist flexes.
Applying steady pressure for about 30 seconds to specific points on the arms and hands can help. These points correspond with the largest, most accessible arteries in the upper extremities. This pressure can significantly improve circulation in these areas.
Every system in the body needs water for smooth functioning. As such, it is also important to keep yourself well hydrated. For most people, this means drinking between 1.5 – 2 liters of water daily.
Regular water consumption ensures that the cells are well hydrated and can function properly. It also boosts improved circulation.
Go for room temperature rather than iced water. And stay away from sodas and sugary drinks since they tend to have a dehydrating effect.
Mind the temperature
Hands will likely get cold faster in lower temperatures, so make sure to keep them warm. If poor circulation in hands is already a problem, then cover hands properly in cold temperatures. This small precaution can help maintain a warmer body temperature.
Stimulants such as coffee, tea, and alcohol all have an immediate effect on blood. When used too often, they can cause interrupted circulation. To improve this condition, try working on limiting your stimulant intake. Gradual cutting back can help improve circulation.
Instead, opt for healthier options like green tea, which actually boost circulation.
Smoking is often a sneaky offender in the poor circulation equation. It may not be seen as a cause for poor circulation in hands, but more in generalized poor circulation.
This is because smoking can restrict blood flow and quitting seems to have many benefits. Immediate benefits include not only improved blood pressure but also better circulation.
In conclusion, these are a few of the possible causes of poor circulation in hands. But there are remedies available for them. Contacting a doctor to discuss the symptoms is necessary. This will help determine if any other health concerns need to be addressed through medication or a lifestyle change.
There are poor leg circulation remedies along with hand remedies that can help with the overall blood circulation in the body. Many herbal supplements can improve the overall blood circulation in the body as well. Certain foods also help increase blood flow. Pomegranates, blueberries and nuts are just a few good examples.
Poor circulation in the body can be extremely painful. It can make getting through a normal day really difficult. Pay attention to possible symptoms. Evaluate your lifestyle, make sure you exercise and maintain a healthy diet.