Poor Circulation

What is it?

The term poor circulation is used to describe any situation in which the amount of blood flow to the arm or hand is decrease. There are many potential causes of this problem. It may be related to injury or certain diseases.

Some of the more common diseases associated with decreased circulation are diabetes, kidney disease, and atherosclerosis (sometimes called "hardening of the arteries").

What are the symptoms?

Decreases circulation to the hand or fingers may cause pain, a change in temperature of the fingers, or discoloration. Subtle changes in skin temperature or coloration are common and occur throughout a normal day. However, when associated with decreased blood flow related to disease or injury, the changes are more severe and constant.

How is it evaluated?

In addition to listening to the history of your symptoms, your doctor will examine your hand and arm. Much information can be obtained from the appearance of the hand and fingers and by palpating (feeling) the blood vessels at different places in the hand and arm. There are also simple ways to listen to blood vessels and evaluate how much blood is flowing through them.

Sometimes other tests are needed. Your doctor will discuss with you the details of any other necessary tests.

How is it treated?

Treatment is directed towards decreasing symptoms and improving circulation. There are many factors involved in deciding which treatment is best.

Sometimes medications are very affective and no other treatment is needed. In other cases surgery is required to provide the best improvement in circulation. Your doctor will review with you the options for treatment and which are best for you.