A healthy circulatory system is important. If a part of your body comes into contact with bacteria or happens to develop an infection, your circulatory system delivers white blood cells to heal the problem area. For people with diabetes, however, blood circulation is typically weaker in the arms and legs, which means that if you get an infection, your body will have a much harder time getting rid of it. Fortunately, there are a few changes diabetics can make to improve their circulation.
Find the Right Fit
Diabetic socks can be a great tool for protecting your feet because they can prevent potential injuries that can be especially harmful to someone with diabetes. They also keep the feet warm, which can help improve circulation. Patricia Sammarelli, MD, physician at St. Joseph Health Primary Care West Villa Maria Road, recommends, “When picking a pair, avoid compression socks and ones that are too tight because these can further restrict blood circulation.”
Cardiovascular exercise is a great way to improve blood circulation. Find workouts that utilize every part of the body to get the blood flowing throughout. You can also focus the exercises on specific problem areas. For example, if you are especially concerned about the circulation in your feet, go for a walk. The movement of your toes, feet, and ankles will increase blood flow to your lower extremities.
Eat to Your Heart’s Content
Omega-3 fatty acids benefit the entire body, but they are especially beneficial for the heart. They can lower blood pressure, improve circulation, and reduce the amount of triglycerides in your blood. It’s recommended that you eat fatty fish, such as salmon or mackerel, twice a week to load up on omega-3 fatty acids.
Another nutrient your heart needs is iron, which is present in foods such as red meat and spinach. Iron is essential for the creation of red blood vessels, which carry oxygen throughout your body. However, excessive consumption of iron has been linked to cardiovascular disease, so speak with your doctor about the right amount for you.
Improving circulation can be as easy as making a few small lifestyle changes. To learn more about healthy choices you can make to lessen the effects of diabetes, participate in events through the Living Well With Diabetes program at St. Joseph Health’s MatureWell Lifestyle Center. Through this program, you will get hands-on education that will enable you to make healthier decisions and live a vibrant life with diabetes.
U.S. News & World Report | How Diabetes Can Sabotage Circulation
The Diabetes Council | How to Improve Circulation to Feet if You Have Diabetes
Healthline | Diabetic Socks: Finding the Right Socks for You
Medical News Today | How to Improve Circulation
LiveStrong | Benefits of Increased Blood Circulation
MedlinePlus | Omega-3 fats - Good for your heart