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Don’t Ignore These 7 Major Signs of Poor Circulation

Are muscle cramps, aching feet and pins and needles a daily annoyance for you? You could be dealing with poor circulation, a condition affecting 16% of Aussies. Here’s what to look at for, plus the dangers of ignoring these symptoms.

Ultra-processed diets, sedentary habits - and we're not kidding here; 50% of us are sitting most of the day! - and the pressures of modern living contribute to this rise in circulatory issues, with a whopping 4 million Australians afflicted. Poor circulation can lead to a myriad of health problems, including cardiovascular disease, stroke, and impaired organ function. Yet, despite its prevalence and potential dangers, poor circulation often goes undetected until symptoms become severe. Understanding the implications of poor circulation is essential for safeguarding our health and wellbeing in an increasingly sedentary world.

It sounds pretty self-explanatory, but so many of us don't quite understand what poor circulation entails - don't worry, we'll make it really simple. This condition is characterised by inadequate blood flow to the extremities, such as the arms, legs, hands, and feet. It occurs when the blood vessels, including arteries and veins, become narrowed or blocked, hindering the smooth flow of blood throughout the body. Poor circulation typically results from the buildup of fatty deposits (plaques) on the inner walls of blood vessels, a process known as atherosclerosis. These plaques narrow the arteries and restrict blood flow, leading to reduced oxygen and nutrient delivery to tissues and organs. As a result, individuals with poor circulation may experience symptoms such as muscle cramps, numbness, tingling, cold extremities, and slow-healing wounds. Poor circulation can affect various parts of the body and is often indicative of underlying cardiovascular issues. It is essential to diagnose and address poor circulation promptly to prevent complications and optimise overall health and well-being.

What Causes Poor Circulation?

Poor circulation is on the rise due to several factors, including sedentary lifestyles, poor dietary habits, and an ageing population. Here are some reasons why poor circulation is becoming more prevalent: 

Sedentary Lifestyles: Modern lifestyles characterised by prolonged sitting, desk jobs, and decreased physical activity contribute to poor circulation. Lack of movement reduces blood flow and promotes the development of arterial plaques, leading to restricted circulation.

Unhealthy Dietary Choices: Diets high in processed foods, saturated fats, and refined sugars contribute to obesity, hypertension, and atherosclerosis—all of which can impair circulation. Poor dietary habits lead to the accumulation of plaque in the arteries, further exacerbating circulatory issues.

Smoking: Smoking is a major risk factor for poor circulation as it damages blood vessels and promotes the development of arterial plaques. Smokers are at a significantly higher risk of developing peripheral artery disease and other circulatory disorders.

Ageing Population: As the population ages, the prevalence of circulatory problems increases. Ageing leads to natural wear and tear on the blood vessels, making them more susceptible to damage and narrowing. Additionally, age-related conditions such as diabetes and hypertension further compound circulatory issues.

Chronic Health Conditions: Chronic health conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, and obesity are strongly associated with poor circulation. These conditions damage blood vessels, impair blood flow, and increase the risk of developing circulatory disorders. 

7 Major Signs to Watch Out For

Muscle Cramping: Persistent muscle cramps, particularly in the legs, can be a symptom of poor circulation. These cramps may occur during physical activity or even at rest, and they are often associated with inadequate blood flow to the affected muscles.

Constant Foot Pain: Individuals with poor circulation may experience ongoing foot pain, which can range from a dull ache to sharp, stabbing sensations. This discomfort may be exacerbated by prolonged standing or walking and may affect one or both feet.

Pain and Throbbing in Extremities: Pain, throbbing, or a sensation of heaviness in the arms and legs can indicate reduced blood flow to these extremities. This discomfort may be more noticeable after periods of inactivity or when elevating the affected limb.

Fatigue: Chronic fatigue or a general feeling of tiredness, particularly in the limbs, can be linked to poor circulation. Inadequate blood flow may compromise oxygen and nutrient delivery to tissues, leading to feelings of weakness and lethargy. 


Varicose Veins: Varicose veins, characterised by swollen, twisted veins that are visible beneath the skin, are a common manifestation of poor circulation. These enlarged veins often appear in the legs and may be accompanied by discomfort, itching, or aching sensations. 

Digestive Issues: Poor circulation can affect blood flow to the digestive organs, leading to symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating, indigestion, and irregular bowel movements. These digestive disturbances may arise from reduced oxygen and nutrient delivery to the gastrointestinal tract.

Leg Cramps While Walking: Intermittent claudication, or leg cramps that occur during walking or physical activity and subside with rest, is a classic symptom of peripheral artery disease (PAD), a condition characterised by narrowed or blocked arteries in the legs. These cramps typically improve with rest but may recur upon resuming activity. 

Wounds That Don't Heal: Inadequate blood flow can impair the body's ability to heal wounds, particularly in the legs, feet, and toes. Slow-healing or non-healing ulcers, cuts, or sores in these areas may indicate compromised circulation and require medical attention.

If you experience any of these symptoms, especially if they persist or worsen over time, it's important to consult a healthcare professional for proper evaluation and management. Addressing underlying circulation issues early can help prevent complications and improve overall health and quality of life.

The Dangers of Poor Circulation

Poor circulation can lead to various dangerous diseases and health complications due to inadequate blood flow and oxygen delivery to tissues and organs. Here's a rundown of some of the conditions associated with poor circulation and their potential consequences:

Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD):

  • Reduced blood flow to the extremities (legs and arms)
  • Increased risk of blood clots, especially in narrowed arteries
  • Pain, cramping, and fatigue during physical activity (claudication)
  • Slow wound healing and increased risk of infections
  • Critical limb ischemia, which can lead to tissue death (gangrene) and limb amputation

Coronary Artery Disease (CAD): 

  • Narrowing or blockage of the coronary arteries supplying the heart muscle
  • Angina (chest pain) or myocardial infarction (heart attack) due to inadequate blood supply to the heart
  • Reduced cardiac function and increased risk of heart failure

You know what contributes to coronary artery disease? A high-sugar diet. To learn about foods that boost your gut, combat sugar cravings and leave you feeling fuller for longer, come join us for the 8-Week Program. You don’t have to buy exotic ingredients or splash your cash on new appliances; every tool you need, you’ve likely already got, and our ingredients are easily found at your local grocer. Because we know how challenging it can be to make a change in your life, and it’s the little things that make it that much easier (and fun!). Take a look at some of the exciting recipes members enjoy:

  • Kale + Cauliflower Curry Puffs
  • Raspberry Breakfast Muffins
  • Prawn + Mango Tacos
  • Swede + Cannellini Bean Soup
  • Minty Salmon Brain-Boosting Bowl
  • Savoury Crepes
  • Spiced Sicilian Stew


  • Impaired blood flow to the brain due to narrowed or blocked arteries (ischemic stroke)
  • Increased risk of blood clots traveling to the brain (embolic stroke)
  • Neurological deficits, including paralysis, speech difficulties, and cognitive impairment

Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) and Pulmonary Embolism (PE):

  • Formation of blood clots (thrombus) in deep veins, typically in the legs
  • Risk of clot detachment and migration to the lungs (pulmonary embolism)
  • Chest pain, shortness of breath, and potentially life-threatening respiratory compromise

Hypertension (High Blood Pressure): 

  • Chronic elevation of blood pressure due to narrowed arteries and increased resistance to blood flow
  • Strain on the heart and blood vessels, leading to cardiovascular complications such as heart attack, stroke, and heart failure
  • Damage to organs such as the kidneys, eyes, and brain


  • Buildup of fatty plaques (atherosclerotic lesions) in the arterial walls, causing narrowing and stiffening of blood vessels
  • Reduced blood flow to vital organs, increasing the risk of heart attack, stroke, and peripheral artery disease
  • Potential rupture of plaques, leading to blood clots and acute cardiovascular events

Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD): 

  • Impaired blood flow to the kidneys, resulting in kidney damage and dysfunction
  • Decreased filtration and waste removal capabilities, leading to fluid retention, electrolyte imbalances, and systemic complications
  • Progression to end-stage renal disease (ESRD) requiring dialysis or kidney transplantation

We’ve put in the hard yards so you can enjoy the benefits of an extensive, wholistic program that covers everything from learning how to manage nutrition and mental health to social situations. When you join us for the 8-Week Program you’ll have exclusive access to expert guidance, nutritional planning and support every step of the way. Take a peek at what’s on offer:

  • 8 weeks of meal plans and shopping lists.
  • A range of exclusive recipes, including sugar-free desserts, snacks and all the old favourites.
  • Community forums to share and discuss your experience.
  • Expert support to guide you through each week – from world-renowned chef Sarah Glover to yoga teachers, nutritionists and naturopaths. 


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