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CIRCULATORY DISORDERS

FOODS THAT HEAL

  • Citrus fruits
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Salmon
  • Sardines

    FOODS TO LIMIT

  • Fried foods
  • Salty foods

    WHO’S AFFECTED

  • People who have atherosclerosis
  • People with diabetes
  • People living in cold places and women (for Raynaud’s disease) The most common circulatory, or vascular, disorders are high blood pressure and atherosclerosis; others include various clotting abnormalities and diseases marked by reduced blood flow
    Some common disorders include aneurysms, intermittent claudication, phlebitis, and Raynaud’s disease
    Aneurysms are balloon-like bulges that form in weakened segments of the arteries, especially the aorta, the body’s largest artery, which stems directly from the heart
    Many aneurysms are due to a congenital weakness, while others are caused by atherosclerosis and high blood pressure
    Intermittent claudication symptoms include severe leg pain and cramps induced by walking
    A lack of oxygen due to inadequate blood flow causes the pain
    Intermittent claudication is common in those who have diabetes or atherosclerosis
    Phlebitis refers to any inflammation of a vein; the large, superficial veins in the lower legs are the most commonly afflicted
    Although painful, superficial phlebitis is not as dangerous as when veins located deeper in the legs become inflamed, setting the stage for thrombophlebitis
    In this condition, clots form at the site of inflammation and pieces may break away and travel to the heart and lungs
    Raynaud’s disease is characterized by periods of numbness, tingling, and pain in the fingers and toes due to constriction or spasms in the small arteries that carry blood to the extremities
    Typically, Raynaud’s disease is set off by exposure to the cold; in some people, stress may trigger attacks
    For unknown reasons, women are nine times more likely to suffer from Raynaud’s
    Smoking is blamed in many cases
    Some victims may also have lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, or other inflammatory autoimmune disorders
    20% of people with Raynaud’s disease seek treatment

    Nutrition Connection

    There are no specific dietary treatments for circulatory disorders
    However, these measures may help people manage their conditions and improve their general well-being
    Adopt a low-fat, low-salt diet
    Following a low-fat, low-salt diet can help prevent circulatory disorders caused by atherosclerosis and high blood pressure, especially in aneurysms
    Eat fresh fruits and vegetables
    Consuming ample amounts will provide the vitamin C needed to strengthen and maintain blood vessels
    Include more onions and garlic
    These vegetables are especially helpful in improving blood flow
    After chopping garlic, let it rest for 10 minutes prior to cooking it
    This will allow the allicin and its potent derivatives to be activated and unleash the full nutritional power of garlic
    Add more fish
    A diet that includes several servings a week of fatty fish or other sources of omega-3 fatty acids, as well as foods high in vitamin E, helps reduce inflammation and clot formation
    Gamma linolenic acid, a substance in evening primrose and borage oils, has a similar effect, but check with your doctor first, as these may interact with prescribed drugs

    Beyond the Diet

    Combined with a balanced diet, taking the following steps can support your overall health and prevent aggravating circulatory problems further: Exercise
    An exercise program coupled with a very low-fat diet, such as the regimen championed by cardiologist Dr
    Dean Ornish, can help those with circulation problems
    Avoid smoke
    Don’t smoke, and try your best to avoid secondhand smoke
    Try warm compresses
    For those with Raynaud’s disease, applying warm compresses to hands and feet, or avoiding exposure to cold temperatures can prevent or minimize attacks
    Medicate as needed
    Phlebitis can be treated with aspirin and other anti-inflammatory drugs
    Clot-dissolving drugs may be administered for thrombophlebitis; other measures may be required to prevent clots from reaching vital organs
    Talk to your doctor
    People with severe blockages may require surgery to remove them