What Happens When You Have Poor Circulation?

What Happens When You Have Poor Circulation?

If your fingers and toes frequently fall asleep or feel tingly, it could be a sign that your circulation isn’t as good as it could be. 

Your circulatory system is responsible for delivering oxygen, blood, and nutrients to your entire body. When it’s working properly, you should feel healthy and energetic. But if you feel run-down or experience frequent fatigue, it could indicate a problem with poor circulation.

Poor circulation affects more than just your energy levels, however. In itself, poor circulation isn’t a problem, but some of the ways it can affect you are more serious. Dr. Jake Schmutz and Dr. Joshua Hersh at Integrative Medica in Salt Lake City, Utah, explain more about what causes poor circulation and how it affects your health.

The symptoms of poor circulation

How do you know if your circulation is poor? There are a few telltale signs. One of the most obvious is that you may feel like your fingers and toes have fallen asleep, or you feel tingling in your fingers or toes. 

However, other symptoms of poor circulation can include:

In addition, if your poor circulation is caused by peripheral artery disease, you may also experience erectile dysfunction. Sometimes, erectile dysfunction can be an early sign that you have circulation problems.

What causes poor circulation?

A number of things can cause poor circulation. In general, the most common causes are obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and issues with your arteries.

Other symptoms may include:

Other major conditions that can cause decreased circulation

Certain conditions make it more likely that you can have decreased circulation. 

Peripheral artery disease

Peripheral artery disease is a common cause of poor circulation. Most often seen in people over the age of 50, peripheral artery disease means that your arteries and blood vessels shrink, which leads to poor circulation. If you smoke, you can develop peripheral artery disease at a younger age.

People with peripheral artery disease may also have atherosclerosis, which is hardened plaque inside your veins. Peripheral artery disease can lead to stroke and heart attack, which means that you need treatment right away.

Blood clots

Blood clots develop for a number of reasons, but they’re always a reason for concern. If you have a blood clot in your arms or legs, it can lead to tingling and numbness in your fingers or toes. It’s important to get this checked out because if a blood clot breaks free, it can travel to your lungs or brain and cause a stroke or a pulmonary embolism.


Diabetes doesn’t just affect your blood sugar. It can also cause cramping in your legs and thighs, especially when you’re physically active. In addition, it can damage the nerves in your toes, which is a symptom of a condition called diabetic neuropathy. Diabetic neuropathy can make you unable to feel that something’s wrong with your feet.

If you suspect you have poor circulation, you should schedule an appointment right away for an evaluation. Contact the providers at Integrative Medica today by calling our office or booking an appointment online.

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