Low blood circulation can occur due to several different underlying conditions, the most common of which are atherosclerosis, or "hardening of the arteries"; and peripheral artery disease, or PAD. You'll likely experience certain typical signs and symptoms associated with poor blood circulation, which usually occur in your arms, legs, hands and feet. If you experience symptoms of circulation problems, consult your physician right away, because poor circulation can lead to heart attack, stroke and even death.
Leg Pain While Walking
A common symptom of poor blood circulation is pain or cramping of your leg or hip muscles while walking, climbing stairs or another similar physical activity. This is a condition called intermittent claudication, which is a sign of PAD.
Numbness and Weakness
If your arms or legs feel numb or weak while you're active or at rest, you may have low blood circulation, says the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. If these symptoms in your arms and legs come about suddenly and are accompanied by impaired or slurred speech and drooping facial muscles, you may have low blood circulation to your brain due to atherosclerosis. Poor circulation in the arteries supplying your brain can cause a stroke.
Coldness and Swelling
If your feet, hands or lower legs feel cold all the time for no apparent reason, this may be a sign of poor blood circulation, says the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Low blood circulation due to PAD or atherosclerosis tends to produce coldness in one foot, hand or leg more than the the other, MayoClinic.com notes. You could also notice swelling in your extremities due to poor circulation, particularly in your legs and feet.
Another sign of low blood circulation, particularly in your legs, is the presence of sores on your feet or legs that don't seem to heal. You may also notice that ulcers or infections in your legs and feet heal very slowly, according to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. You may also notice that you're losing hair on your legs and feet or that your hair is growing slower than normal. Your toenails may grow slowly as well.
Changes in Skin Color
Poor circulation can cause your skin in your arms, hands, legs and feet to change color. You may notice that your skin looks "shiny," the Mayo Clinic says. Your legs and feet may turn pale or bluish in color, due to the poor blood and oxygen delivery to your extremities, notes the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
Weak Pulse in Your Legs
Poor blood circulation due to atherosclerosis or PAD can cause your pulse to become weak or even nonexistent in your feet or legs, according to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. When the pulse in your limbs is weak or absent, this means that there is little or no blood circulation to these areas of your body. The most common method that doctors use to determine blood flow problems is to check your pulse in the leg and groin areas, explains the University of Michigan Health System.
If you experience chest pain or angina, as well as any other symptoms of a heart attack, you may have low blood circulation in the arteries to your heart. This may be a sign of atherosclerosis in these arteries. If you have chest pain, you should see your doctor right away to prevent a potentially life-threatening medical problem.
If you're a man, experiencing erectile dysfunction can be a sign of low blood circulation. Erectile problems can indicate poor blood flow to your groin and lower extremities due to one or more blocked, clogged or narrowed arteries.