March’s Healthy Living Program Series “Circulation in Your Lower Extremities” was presented by Autumn Ferringer, Wesbury’s Assistant Director of Nursing. Autumn’s presentation explained what Peripheral Arterial Disease, Venous Disease and other Edema causes are and the symptoms to look for. Below are some points made by Autumn during her program.
The Circulatory System, also known as the Vascular System
The Arterial System takes blood from the heart to the body. The Venous System carries blood back to the heart from the body.
Peripheral Arterial Disease
When a narrowing or clogging of the arteries reduces blood flow to the limbs.
Some Signs of Poor Circulation
- Hair loss on your legs and feet
- Changes in your toe nails
- Leg pain
- Legs will be bright red
- Cold feet
* If you experience any of these symptoms, see a nurse or a doctor.
Smoking can increase your risk factor for Peripheral Arterial Disease
It’s important if you have this disease to protect your feet from injury.
When poorly functioning valves in your veins cause swelling or skin changes
Sitting or standing for long periods of time can increase your risk factor for Venous Disease.
Some people have to wear compression clothing, or elevate their legs above their heart to get the blood flowing.
Skin can change to a brown or purple color due to swelling as the capillaries burst.
Swelling can add weight to your legs and feet causing an increased risk of falling and injury.
General Information About Edema
Edema is when swelling occurs in the tissues of the body. Swelling may be noticed in the legs, feet, hands, under the eyes, belly or lower back caused by trapped excess fluid.
Some Causes of Edema:
- Sitting or standing for long periods of time.
- Salt Retention – Due to eating foods high in salt
- Fluid Retention – Some people cannot tolerate a lot of fluids, especially if they have kidney disease
- Low Protein Levels – When levels are low, fluid can build up in skin tissues
- Problems with the liver or kidneys
- Lymphedema – Causes swelling in your body when your lymph nodes are damaged
Fluid buildup can cause difficulty breathing, shortness of breath or chest pain.
*If you experience any of these symptoms, see a nurse or a doctor.
A Few Preventive Steps for Edema
- It’s important to keep moving and walking. If you sit for the majority of the day – stand up and walk around every so often to improve circulation.
- Exercise regularly.
- Quit smoking.
- Eat a healthy diet and maintain a healthy body weight.
- Wear compression clothes or support stockings
Note: Please see your doctor with any health concerns or questions regarding treatment for your diagnosis