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How to Improve Lower Leg Circulation

Peripheral arterial disease (PAD), usually due to atherosclerosis, is the most common cause of reduced blood flow to the legs. Some other factors that can negatively affect circulation are obesity, poor diet, lack of exercise, smoking, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, pregnancy, diabetes, and some thyroid and nerve disorders. Poor leg circulation can lead to leg and foot cramping as well as fatigue, swelling, and cold or tingling feet. To improve your lower leg circulation, just follow these 8 steps.

How to Improve Lower Leg Circulation

Step 1: Change position regularly if you have to sit for long periods of time. Staying in one position can put pressure on your legs, reducing blood flow. Stand up and move around for five minutes every half hour.

Step 2: Quit smoking! The nicotine in tobacco products constricts the blood vessels in the legs, causing them to narrow and interfere with circulation.

Step 3: Regular exercise will help improve circulation and keep blood from pooling in your lower legs. Walking is a great and easy way to increase blood flow to your legs while simultaneously improving your overall health. Calf raises, leg flexing and other exercises that work your legs or move your feet and ankles will increase blood flow as well.

Step 4: Compression hosiery or boots can help to stimulate circulation. These garments compress the veins and prevent fluid buildup in the legs. Keep from using elastic support stockings though – these may actually worsen circulation. Compression hosiery is tighter at the ankles and looser near the top of the legs.

Step 5: Elevate your legs above your heart when you sleep or sit for long periods of time. Use a pillow to prop your legs when lying down. This will allow blood to flow easily back toward your heart, preventing fluid accumulation in your legs and ankles.

Step 6: Cover your legs with a blanket and wear socks to bed when it’s cold out. Warm temperatures will improve circulation. Don’t use a heating pad if you experience poor leg circulation – this may interfere with your ability to sense pain and heat, which could lead to burns.

Step 7: Don’t taking medications that constrict your blood vessels. Speak with your doctor if you are currently taking any medication to figure out whether a change in dosage or medication can improve circulation in your legs.

Step 8: Treat any underlying health conditions that could be contributing to your poor circulation. Proper diet and regular medical care are absolutely necessary to improving poor circulation caused by diabetes, high cholesterol or high blood pressure. Anticoagulants and other medications can help treat poor circulation due to atherosclerosis.

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