Bad blood circulation symptoms

Updated May 10, 2017

When blood flow is restricted to certain areas of your body, you may begin to experience symptoms of bad blood circulation. Some common areas affected are your hands and feet, but there are some very important organs that may also be affected by bad blood circulation, such as your brain and heart. By being aware of some possible symptoms, you will be able to take the appropriate steps in caring for the underlying cause.


The brain gets a good portion----20 per cent----of the blood that circulates throughout the body. This means that the brain requires plenty of blood to function well. When blood does not adequately reach the brain, you may begin to experience issues such as feelings of lethargy, problems remembering things and fogginess in your thoughts. You may also begin to experience frequent headaches and sudden dizziness.


When your heart is affected by bad blood circulation, you may begin to experience high blood pressure, raised cholesterol and chest pain. You may also notice that you are having more trouble than ever (becoming winded and worn out) performing tasks like walking up a flight of stairs.


The kidneys do more than eliminate waste and water from the body. They also help to control and monitor blood pressure. When your kidneys are affected by bad blood circulation, you may begin to notice that your hands, ankles and feet are swelling. You may also feel fatigued and have high blood pressure.


Because blood has to travel farthest to reach the arms and legs, bad blood circulation can dish out a severe blow to them. It may begin to cause numbness in the hands, fingers or feet. It may also cause varicose veins (which can often be seen as visible bulges in the legs) and skin discolouration (blue, black, red or pale in colour). Additionally, circulation issues may cause very uncomfortable leg cramps, particularly when you are lying down during sleep.


The liver requires healthy blood circulation in order to adequately perform its job of detoxifying the body. Bad blood circulation to your liver may cause a variety of symptoms including lack of appetite, sudden and unexplained weight loss, and skin tone changes.

Common Culprits

You may begin to experience symptoms of bad blood circulation if you have a peripheral vascular disease or a peripheral artery disease. Peripheral vascular disease occurs when blood vessels outside the brain and heart begin to narrow and restrict blood flow. Peripheral artery disease comes as a result of fatty deposits forming inside the walls of your arteries, reducing or even blocking the necessary flow of blood. Risk factors for peripheral vascular disease and peripheral artery disease include high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, gender, family history and advanced age. Speak to your primary care physician as soon as possible if you believe you may have either of these conditions.

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About the Author

Christa Miller is a writing professional with expertise in massage therapy and health. Miller attended San Francisco State University to earn a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing with a minor in journalism and went on to earn an Arizona massage therapy license.