By now you know that the health of your heart takes priority if you want everything else to work as it should. But one area often overlooked is the Circulatory System, also known as the Vascular System.
The Circulatory System includes three independent systems that work together:
➡ The heart (cardiovascular)
➡ The lungs (pulmonary)and
➡ The arteries and veins (systemic).
The Circulatory System is responsible for the flow of blood, nutrients, oxygen and other gases, as well as hormones to and from the cells of your body.
Unfortunately, there are often no or few symptoms in the early stages of disease affecting your body’s elaborate network of arteries and veins.
And when they do surface, they may seem more like “little aggravations” than like true warning signs.
But, don’t ignore these 6 symptoms. They could be a sign you have a problem with blood reaching your legs, feet, arms, hands – or even in the vessels of your head and neck that feed your brain.
Most people start wondering what’s going on when their legs start hurting, but the pain goes away once they rest, so they forget about it.
➡ However, this is a telltale sign of a significant disease in your arteries, called Peripheral Artery Disease, and should be seen as more than just a pain in the legs.
➡ It can be a sign of many conditions, including blood clots or a weakening in the valves of the veins in the legs (a condition called Venous Insufficiency).
3. Cold, painful hands or feet
If you’re experiencing cold, painful sensations in your hands or feet, it’s a sign that your blood isn’t properly reaching your extremities.
➡ It could be a sign of narrowing or blockages of the arteries in the arms or legs (Peripheral Artery Disease).
Cold and painful fingers and toes could also be related to Raynaud’s Phenomenon, another disorder of the Circulatory System, in which blood vessels, having involuntary contractions (spasms) cause hands and feet change colors from white to blue to red during changing temperatures.
In its most severe cases, Peripheral Artery Disease can cause tingling or numbness in the lower legs and feet when you’re at rest.
➡ It may be accompanied by a feeling of fatigue or weakness in the extremities.
5. Pain in the buttocks or thighs
Signs that there’s a blockage in the Circulatory System also involves the more central arteries (such as the aorta or (iliac vessels) and include pain in the buttocks or thighs.
➡ The pain happens while walking and goes away when you rest.
➡ It doesn’t typically happen when you’re sitting or standing still.
At its worst, a serious and prolonged lack of blood to the tissue can cause critical oxygen deprivation (called ischemia) in the leg, foot, and toes.
This causes sores that don’t heal (ulcers) and gangrene (death of the tissue). These are indications that the tissue has been severely damaged.
➡ A leg or toe ulcer can be a sign of the most severe form of Peripheral Artery Disease and requires urgent evaluation.
Getting treatment for complications of your Circulatory System is critical because it also puts you at higher risk for heart attack and stroke, as well as for future problems with your legs and feet.
Don’t wait! See your primary care physician as soon as possible If you have any of the above symptoms or questions about your heart or vascular health.
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