Circulation is the process of bringing blood, oxygen and hormones to your cells and removing gases and waste products from your cells. Major organs involved in circulation are your heart and your lungs. An overweight condition, combined with an unhealthy lifestyle, contributes to circulation problems. Left untreated, circulation problems increase the risk of diabetes and coronary heart disease.
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There are three types of circulation in your body. Coronary circulation is the circulation of blood through your heart. Pulmonary circulation is the circulation of blood from your heart to your lungs to get oxygen for transport through your body. Systemic circulation is the circulation of blood, oxygen and nutrients to your working muscles throughout your body.
Approximately 2,000 gallons of blood are circulated through 60,000 miles of blood vessels in your body daily. Your heart rate is measured as the number of times that your heart beats to begin circulation. The average resting heart rate is 70 beats per minute. Blood pressure is the measurement of the amount of force of blood as it exits your heart and pushes against your blood vessels. Healthy blood vessels are elastic and clear, allowing blood to flow through your body with a low amount of force.
An unhealthy diet consisting of high amounts of saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium can inhibit circulation. Plaque, a sticky substance consisting of fat and cholesterol, builds up on your blood vessels and narrows the path that blood can flow through. When the vessel becomes completely blocked, circulation problems occur. Blockages in your brain may result in a stroke, may cause numbness and pain in your arms and legs, and can result in a heart attack. Inactivity decreases the ability of your lower body blood vessels to pump blood back up to your heart. This can lead to circulation problems and blood pooling, increasing the appearance of varicose veins. Excess body weight and body fat also increase your resting heart rate and blood pressure, increasing the stress on your circulatory system.
Healthy weight loss and exercise can improve circulation problems. Diets low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium prevent plaque buildup and high blood pressure. Proper nutrition includes the consumption of fruits, vegetables, fiber and whole grains. Cardio exercise can strengthen your heart and decrease your resting heart rate.
Consult a physician if you experience pain, numbness or any type of chest pain due to poor circulation. First-time exercisers should see a physician before beginning an exercise program.