Poor circulation typically indicates health issues such as diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure or obesity, according to FootSmart. It also often occurs due to peripheral vascular disease, in which blood does not flow properly to and from the heart.
Poor circulation can damage a vein or impede blood flow, causing a deep blood clot to form in the leg and leading to deep vein thrombosis, explains FootSmart. Deep vein thrombosis involves severe pain, and it often develops in people with poor circulation who are also obese or older than 40 years old.
Common symptoms of poor circulation start in the feet and legs and include recurring coldness, a tingling sensation, swelling, achiness or cramping when inactive, states FootSmart. Individuals with poor circulation also usually experience fatigue or cramping when active. Moreover, feeling better when elevating the feet, having an unexplained hair loss on the feet and legs, or having blue, purple or red toes may signal poor circulation.
Maintaining a standing or sitting position for prolonged periods, an unhealthy diet, lack of exercise and smoking tobacco cigarettes are several behaviors that increase a person's risk of poor circulation, notes FootSmart. To prevent or treat poor circulation, it is essential to quit smoking, exercise regularly, maintain healthy cholesterol or blood pressure levels, and avoid prolonged inactivity. It also helps to raise the legs or use special leg massagers.