Freeman Cebu Lifestyle

The importance of good blood circulation

Alexa Montecillo - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines – Traditionally, sleepiness and sluggishness are quickly attributed to poor blood circulation. Old people liken a body where blood is not getting around properly to an engine whose fuel is not burning well and, thus, does not distribute energy to make the machine function well. In a way, that might be so.

There's no question that good blood circulation plays an important part of the body's overall function and health. Blood pumped by the heart goes through blood vessels in the circulatory system. Red blood cells carry oxygen to the body's vital organs, providing energy and vitality. When the vital organs and circulatory system work in unison, there is adequate blood flow. But when there is a disease or condition affecting the circulatory system, blood flow may decrease.

An article by Julie Boehlke, at www.livestrong .com, explains that good blood flow or circulation in the body can benefit the heart and the muscles and arteries throughout the body. Good blood circulation improves oxygen supply to extremities. Exercising and working out have been found to improve oxygen levels in the blood and increase the blood flow to the body's vital organs. Working out the muscles and increasing aerobic activity, in particular, can help with blood circulation.

Boehlke writes that an increase in blood flow and circulation to the different areas of the body helps promote cell growth and organ function. Likewise, the skin benefits from an increase in blood circulation, as healthy skin is better able to fight off bacteria and infection. When the heart pumps at full force, the heart rate lowers, heart muscles relax and blood pressure flows evenly and smoothly.

The American Diabetes Association points out that people with diabetes need to pay special attention to their health, including their blood circulation, by making frequent visits to the doctor. Diabetes can cause poor blood circulation throughout the body, but specifically in the legs and feet. Again, exercising helps improve blood flow to the extremities and reduce the risk for diabetic health complications.

Another benefit of good blood circulation in the body body is that it makes the person look and feel healthy. The skin has a healthy color and feels warm to the touch. And still another benefit is improved brain function, with the mind sharp and focused; hence, the person is more equipped to handle stressful situations.

The website www.seemyheart.org explains that the coronary arteries, which supply the heart with oxygen and nutrients, are damaged when there is lack of oxygen and nutrients. When cholesterol or plaque builds up inside the walls of the coronary arteries, the blood flow to the heart decreases. A heart attack develops when plaque in the artery breaks and creates a blockage, hindering the flow of blood.

Coronary artery disease has become quite common in recent years. One may be at risk for developing coronary artery disease from any of the risk factors, like advanced age, family history of early heart disease in a first degree relative (onset of disease before age 55 in men, before age 65 in women), high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, physical inactivity, obesity (especially if fat is concentrated around the waist), and poor diet, among others.

Hypertension or high-blood pressure is another ailment that is related with poor blood flow. It occurs when blood pressure is higher than normal for an extended period of time. When the heart muscle contracts, blood is squeezed out of the heart and flows through the blood vessels or arteries which travel to the rest of the body. As blood flows in arteries where plaque has built up, the heart has to push harder, creating pressure. The more pressure the blood places in the artery, the higher the blood pressure.

In the final analysis, good blood flow in the body can prevent - even corect - many health conditions. It is so important and not impossible to attain. And it can start by simply doing physical exercise, eating a healthy diet, and following a healthy lifestyle.

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