Signs that You May Have Poor Circulation

Did you know that hair loss and fragile nails, along with stress or a poor diet, may be due to poor circulation? Discover other signs of it here!
Signs that You May Have Poor Circulation
José Gerardo Rosciano Paganelli

Reviewed and approved by the doctor José Gerardo Rosciano Paganelli.

Last update: 09 October, 2022

Poor circulation is very common, especially in the summer. It affects a lot of adults. However, did you know that bad circulation may have many negative consequences for your health? Pay attention to the signs your body gives you so you can treat the issue as soon as possible.

How do I know if I have poor circulation?

Your body works every day to distribute blood through its veins and arteries. This is how your organs function properly, nutrients are moved where they need to be, and your hormones regulate your pH.

When there is poor circulation in certain parts of your body, they’re not receiving blood as they should.

Read more here: Try These Natural Remedies to Improve Circulation

Certain habits like smoking or being sedentary and conditions like pregnancy or being overweight increase your likelihood of having this problem.

Visible signs that you may have poor circulation

Feeling cold in your extremities

A woman with poor circulation.

Since blood isn’t getting to your hands and feet, they start feeling colder. That’s why they feel as cold in the summer as they do in the winter.

Marks on your skin

Color changes and marks on your extremities are another sign of poor circulation.

  • Pay attention to red or purplish marks on your feet or calves. Your toes may look bruised or bluish.
  • Discolored skin is a sign that blood and oxygen aren’t correctly flowing through your veins. This symptom is known as cyanosis.


Deficient blood circulation interferes with your kidneys and results in inflammation in certain parts of your body.

If you notice swollen hands or feet, it’s because your circulatory system is trying to reduce blood flow, thus causing swelling.

Tingling and burning

Numbness in your extremities is another sign that you shouldn’t ignore.

This happens when fat deposits block blood flow in your arteries. Numbness means there’s little blood in the area.

Hair loss and fragile nails

A woman with fragile nails.

While it may indicate other problems, like stress or a poor diet, this also may mean poor circulation.

In this case, your hair will be dry and fall out, and your nails will break easily or won’t grow, since your scalp, hands, and feet aren’t receiving the correct amount of nutrients.

Varicose veins

When your heart valves in charge of pumping blood get weakened, blood pressure goes up. This makes the veins under the surface of your skin swell up and twist.

Varicose veins show up near your feet and ankles. You may also experience a burning feeling at night after having been sitting down all day.

Spider veins may also appear due to circulatory problems. Smaller and thicker than varicose veins, these happen in the most superficial layer of your skin and are reddish or blueish.


A woman with fatigue.

When nutrients aren’t correctly distributed throughout your body, you feel lethargic and weak. Blood is pumped more slowly and the movement of oxygen to your muscles (and brain) is slower, too.

Therefore, it’s common to feel tired, like your body is heavy, and certain activities will feel hard.

Slow digestion

If you feel full for hours after eating (even if you didn’t have a large meal), it may be due to poor circulation.

The same thing if you frequently have heartburn, constipation, and gas. Pay attention to your bowel movements, because it may be that your blood isn’t getting to your intestines as it should.

Slow healing of wounds

When there is poor circulation, white blood cells aren’t being transported at the right speed, and therefore they can’t do their job well (which includes healing wounds, cuts, and incisions).

Infections and colds

If your blood flow is slow, your body doesn’t efficiently detect or fight pathogens. It’s common to get viral or bacterial illnesses. Thus, antibodies are “slower” and don’t protect you as they should.

Erectile dysfunction

A man with erectile dysfunction.

Some men with poor circulation may also have sexual performance issues since blood isn’t flowing properly to their reproductive organs.


Oppressive chest pain has many causes. One of them is a lack of blood flowing to the heart. However, the heavy or suffocating feeling is passing: it goes away as suddenly as it begins.

Loss of appetite

Your stomach sends hunger signals to your brain, which receive the proper amount of blood.

If you have less appetite throughout the day or just don’t feel like eating anything, it may be that your digestive organs aren’t able to send this hunger signal to your brain. This often leads to weight loss.

Poor cognitive function

When your brain isn’t getting the blood it needs, its neurons work more slowly. You may experience trouble concentrating or focusing or memory problems.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.