Poor Circulation and Seniors: How to Keep it Pumping

April 25, 2016

bigstock-Happy-Woman-With-Elderly-Mothe-12555725-300x200In the cooler months it’s normal that we all get chilly, even if we’re not outdoors a lot. For seniors, getting and keeping the blood moving may be that much more difficult due to reduced activity. Poor circulation is responsible for many conditions, besides cold hands and feet. What causes poor circulation? What problems does it cause? And, how do you encourage good circulation?

Why so Sluggish?

Poor circulation can occur at any age, but seniors are even more susceptible. Certain daily habits that been practiced for many years, such as smoking, can over time, reduce circulation. Nicotine is a vasodialator. This means that it constricts your arteries, making it harder for your heart to pump ever-so-vital blood to the rest of the body.

Being overweight also affects circulation since it often means a high intake of un-heart-friendly foods. Tied in with that, is lack of exercise. For seniors who have always been sedentary, they may find that their circulation is even worse as the aging process has really set in.

Cardiovascular disease is a common reason for poor circulation in seniors. A weak heart cannot effectively pump blood to the extremities.

Poor posture and tension can restrict blood flow to the brain. That crink in your neck is more than just a pain. It may be preventing you from concentrating and thinking clearly.

Problems Resulting From Poor Circulation

One of the more noticeable symptoms of poor circulation is, as already mentioned, cold feet and hands. Seniors may find they are still cold even while they are bundled up and the rest of them is warm.

Cognitive problems are common among those with severely restricted circulation. Difficulty concentrating, dizziness, slow response time, and headaches are a few of the brain-related problems resulting from poor circulation.

Shortness of breath and fatigue also go hand in hand with poor circulation.

How to Keep it Pumping

Lifestyle changes might be in order if your heart is to keep the blood flowing as it should. These include:

  • Stop smoking as soon as possible.
  • Take up gentle exercise, such as walking. For seniors, this may mean gentle movements even while in bed, to keep the blood flowing.
  • Change your diet to include more heart-healthy foods. Whole grains, such as brown rice, quinoa, and oats are excellent, heart-friendly foods. Also include a diverse selection of vegetables. In today’s world, it may seem like microwave, or already prepared meals are the way to go, but just a little planning can give your heart the nutrients it needs to fight poor circulation.
  • Ask your doctor about supplements and medication for circulation. Coenzyme Q10 is a supplement commonly used for its heart healthy benefits.
  • Take a crack at circulation. Osteopathic doctors and chiropractors are trained in aligning the spine to increase blood flow. In addition, daily stretching, as well as just getting up and changing positions from time to time, can go a long way to increasing blood circulation.

Poor circulation is a problem for many. However, by applying a few of these simple suggestions you may find your way to better circulation.

Jason Sager

We hope this was helpful. If you have any questions or if you know of a senior who could benefit from our vast array of home care services in Fairfax Annandale, please call us at 703.750.6644 or email us. We work with most long term care insurance companies as well as Veterans Affairs, and Workers' Compensation.

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