South Florida Vascular Associates South Florida Vascular Associates

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Can Diet Improve Your Blood Circulation?

A healthy circulatory system is responsible for the steady flow of blood, oxygen, nutrients, and disease-fighting immune cells throughout your body. Without the circulatory system, the body would not be able to fight disease or maintain a stable internal environment.

In a unhealthy circulatory system, you could have poor blood circulation which can occur from fatty plaques known as atherosclerosis, and blood clots that block the normal flow of blood through the arteries into your limbs. Atherosclerosis raises your risk of vascular and heart disease contributing to peripheral artery disease, heart attack and stroke.

Studies have shown that by adding certain foods to your diet such as garlic, fruits and whole grains, you can help to keep your blood vessels healthy and improve circulation. Below are some of the super foods you might consider incorporating into your weekly diet.

Fiber Helps Reduce Cholesterol

If you have poor blood circulation because of atherosclerosis, your cholesterol levels may be high so reducing these levels can help improve your artery and heart health. The National Institutes of Health recommends eating a diet that contains less than 200 milligrams of cholesterol per day. Foods that contain fiber, such as whole grains, oats, apples, bananas, pears, and legumes such as lentils, kidney beans and chick peas can help to lower your cholesterol which in turn increases healthy blood flow and reduces your risk or cardiovascular disease.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids Thin the Blood

Adding fish such as wild salmon, albacore tuna, trout, oysters and anchovies to your weekly diet gives you essential omega-3 fatty acids. In addition to fish, avocados and nuts are high in omega-3 fatty acids. The healthy fat in omegs-3 helps to lower unhealthy fats called triglycerides in the blood, reduce blood pressure, thin the blood and reduce your risk of blood clots. Recommendations for fish are to eat two to three servings of fatty fish per week.

Garlic -A natural blood thinner that can improve blood flow to your limbs. Researchers gave healthy volunteers a daily dose of 600 milligrams of garlic supplements for seven days. Blood samples from the group showed that blood flow in their calf muscles improved significantly after taking garlic. This is particularly important for individuals with varicose veins or clots in their arteries. Whole garlic has similar benefits if you eat 2 to 4 grams of fresh, minced garlic cloves per day. If you are taking any medication, consult your doctor before using any natural remedy.

Oranges- High in vitamin C and considered to be a natural blood thinner and are said to strengthen capillary walls and prevent plaque build-up which leads to poor circulation.

Dark Chocolate- Cocoa contains flavonoids which is naturally found in plants and fruits and has been well linked to improving blood circulation. A study published in the Circulation Journal showed that dark chocolate rich in natural flavonoids improved blood circulation when compared with white chocolate with no flavonoids.

Cayenne pepper is available as a fresh pepper or dried spice and has been associated with increasing metabolic rate and strengthening arteries and blood vessels. Cayenne pepper is best eaten raw in salads or juiced.

Sunflower seeds- Rich in vitamin E which is shown to help keep blood clots from forming. They are great at helping improve circulation.

Watermelon- Rich in lycopene which is a natural antioxidant linked to improving circulation. Lycopene is a natural pigment which gives certain foods their reddish color. Tomatoes, pink grapefruit and apricots also contain lycopene.

If you suffer from poor circulation and cardiovascular disease and are under the care of a physician consult with your physician before implementing this diet.


Monday, December 14, 2015

Extensive Holiday Travel Can Put You at Risk for Deep Vein Thrombosis

The holiday season is upon us and during the holidays many of us plan long distance trips to visit family and friends either by car or by plane that may require many hours of sitting.

Sitting on a plane or in a car for long periods of time can put you at risk for developing a serious blood clot known as a Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). We even have a name for a DVT that occurs as a result of a lengthy flight, "Economy Class Syndrome".

The American Heart Association (AHA) estimates that one in 1,000 people develop DVT each year. A DVT is the development of a blood clot in the deep veins of the legs. When the circulation of the blood slows down due to inactivity, illness, or injury, blood can accumulate or "pool," which provides an ideal setting for clot formation. Blood clots in deep veins can grow in size, break loose, and then travel through the bloodstream to the lungs, resulting in a life-threatening pulmonary embolism.

Travelling on long trips, sitting at a desk all day or even being bed-ridden for a long period of time can cause blood clots to form. If you are a person who travels or sits a lot, we encourage you to be aware of these potential symptoms below and seek medical attention immediately.

Generalized swelling of the affected leg
Affected leg may be larger than the other leg
Affected leg may feel warm and be redder than the other leg
Pain or tenderness in the calf or thigh when it is touched or squeezed or with movement or      standing. Calf or thigh pain may become constant and increase with squeezing or movement.

Below are some helpful tips to help keep your blood circulating during your travels

If travelling by car, stop every couple of hours and get out and walk around. If you're on a plane, try to get up and walk every 30-60 minutes, if possible.
Avoid alcohol, caffeine and other substances that may produce dehydration. Drink plenty of fluids – preferably water.
While sitting on the plane or in the car, try to raise your toes and flex your calves. This motion causes your calf muscles to contract and promotes the flow of blood in the veins in the legs. This can help prevent blood from pooling and forming a clot.

If you know that you have risk factors for DVT, consider talking with your physician before travelling to discuss whether compression stockings for your legs are needed.

The holiday season is a wonderful time to visit your favorite people in far-away places. Enjoy yourself, but while enroute, be sure to perform the simple exercises listed above to keep your blood circulating and your leg veins healthy.

Wishing you a Happy and Healthy Holiday Season!