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As people age, blood circulation can naturally decrease. This occurs for a few reasons. First off, as you age, your heart naturally starts to beat a little slower and a little slower. In turn, this causes circulation throughout the body to naturally slow. Secondly, starting in your 20s, your body and blood slowly start to age. Your body’s water content slowly yet steadily decreases, which, in turn, causes less fluid to be in the bloodstream.
This causes a reduction in body circulation. As such, by the time you are a senior, it is common to have lower or poor leg circulation. Let’s take a close look at what low leg circulation entails and how we can help seniors improve their leg circulation.
What Are the Causes of Low Circulation in the Legs and Feet?
As you age, circulation within the body naturally decreases. On top of this, other elements can reduce circulation to the legs and feet even further. Some of these elements include smoking, being overweight or obese, taking certain medications, eating an unhealthy diet, and being sedentary or not getting enough exercise.
In addition to this, certain medical conditions may also increase your risk of lower circulation, including diabetes, atherosclerosis, deep vein thrombosis, and peripheral artery disease.
What Are the Symptoms of Poor Leg Circulation in Seniors?
Low circulation is a common problem, but unfortunately, many seniors and the family members that care for them do not know what the signs of poor circulation are. One of the most common signs of poor circulation is limbs feeling cold or even numb.
This cold or numb feeling is a key indicator that the limbs, whether they be hands, arms, legs, or feet are not getting enough blood. Another sign that may be present if poor circulation is occurring is a blue tinge to the skin in the affected area. It is more common for light-skinned people to notice a light blue hue in their legs or feet, which indicates that blood flow is poor.
Poor circulation does not only affect the limbs. It can also cause dry skin, make nails brittle, cause hair to fall out, and can even be associated with erectile dysfunction. Poor leg circulation can also affect the time that scrapes, sores and scratches take to heal, especially in those who are diabetic.
How Can You Check Your Leg Circulation at Home?
If you suspect a senior may have poor circulation in their legs or feet, there are a few ways that you can check leg circulation at home. The first step is to examine the legs and feet. Check their temperature, color and look for signs of swelling. The feet should both look to be about the same size, should feel warm to the touch, and should be a person’s normal skin color.
Swelling, abnormal coloring, or feeling cool to the touch can all be signs of poor circulation. Secondly, take the time to check the legs and feet for signs of numbness or tingling, as these can also be signs of poor blood flow. Finally, take the time to wiggle your toes.
This immediately helps to improve blood flow to the foot. If you notice the foot starts to turn pink or feel warmer immediately after wiggling your toes, you may have poor leg circulation. Visit a doctor immediately if you suspect you or your loved one has poor leg circulation.
How Can You Improve Lower Body Circulation in Seniors?
If lower body circulation is decreased in seniors, there are steps you can take to help improve lower body circulation. Some of those steps include:
- Eat healthily
- Stop Using Tobacco Products
- Take Prescribed Medications and Vitamins
- Buy Compression Socks
- Try to Stay Active
- Elevate Your Feet for 30 Minutes Per Day or When Feet Feel Cold or Blue
Seniors need to be aware of lowered circulation and, as such, they need to take steps to help increase their circulation. Learning how to improve circulation in your legs, and then implementing these changes regularly can be challenging, as it is not a simple task to get an elderly person up and moving or changing a diet.
If making these changes proves to be too difficult, then it may be time to consider a senior living facility. A senior living facility can help ensure your loved one takes steps to stay healthy and live their best life. Call us at North Star Senior Advisors for a free consultation, and let us find your senior the perfect community!