Our interstate system is an engineering marvel, but it might not seem that way when I-4 is backed up and there is nowhere to go! We can all agree that being stuck in congested traffic is frustrating, especially when you have somewhere you need to be.
The flow of traffic is kind of similar to the flow of blood within your body. Blood cells can be thought of as cars driving in the highways that are your blood vessels. Just like when you are driving to work or picking up the kids from school, those blood cells have places to be. Issues arise when they have difficulty getting where they need to go!
Some of the complications of poor circulation are severe. Critical limb ischemia is quite concerning and occurs when infections or injuries are not properly addressed by the body’s immune system. When ischemia is present, open sores and infections might progress to the point that body tissue begins to die (gangrene) and the only treatment is amputation.
In addition to critical limb ischemia, a major complication of peripheral arterial disease is heightened risk for both heart attacks and strokes. While signs and symptoms can be noted in the lower body, the circulatory issues affect the whole body. Fatty deposits constrict the blood vessels that supply oxygenated blood to the heart and brain.
Symptoms that can indicate a problem exists include:
- Claudication, which is a painful cramping that develops in the calf, thigh, or hip muscles (particularly following even routine physical activities)
- Leg weakness or numbness
- Coldness in the lower limbs, especially when one leg or foot is colder than the other side
- Slower growth of toenails and leg hair, or even hair loss
- Wounds on the legs, feet, or toes that will not heal