The blood circulatory system is also called the cardiovascular system. It consists of the heart and the blood vessels that run throughout the body, delivering nutrients and oxygen to all cells. Cardiovascular or circulatory diseases are the leading cause of death in Australia, claiming the lives of around 19,000 Australians each year. Over 4 million Australians, 16.6%, live with a circulatory disease (Australian Health Survey 2017-18). The health of every body part depends on your circulation.
People with circulatory disorders often struggle to stay active. The loss of mobility, fatigue, and pain can be challenging and make daily activities like getting out of bed or working harder for people with circulatory disorders.
Plaque buildup, blood clots, and narrowed blood vessels can lead to poor circulation in many. When obstacles or narrow paths slow down the blood flow, it's difficult to send blood to every part of your body efficiently. Exercise can help.
Many people are turning to water therapy and in particular Aquatic Bikes to get help to improve poor circulation and help address circulation disorders.
The circulatory system is a large network of blood vessels that brings oxygen and nutrients to the body and removes carbon dioxide and any waste products. Blood travels through the arteries to the tissues, and the veins bring blood back to the lungs to be oxygenated before returning to the tissues through the valve of the lungs. A circulatory disorder is a problem with the blood vessels that affects the ability of the blood to flow through the body to parts of the body where it is needed. Like a pipe, healthy blood vessels have smooth walls, allowing blood to flow smoothly without getting stuck or clogged. Blood vessels that are damaged by a circulatory disorder are broken or weakened, so they can no longer carry blood normally. If blood vessels are damaged, certain areas of the body will get less oxygen than they should because it cannot get enough oxygen-rich blood that it needs to function correctly. The organs within the body can be affected, as can the extremities, causing symptoms such as pain, swelling, and weakness.
Cardiovascular diseases and circulation disorders include conditions such as:
• Coronary artery disease
• Heart failure
• High blood pressure
• Congenital heart defects
• Peripheral artery disease
• Metabolic diseases such as diabetes
• Blood clots
What is poor circulation?
Poor circulation can occur when something interferes with the circulatory system that delivers blood, oxygen and nutrients to your entire body. Obstacles in your blood vessels make it very difficult for blood to get through, particulalry when trying to reach parts of the body that are a long distance away from your heart like your fingers and toes. This is why they often experience symptoms first. The problem with poor circulation is that your cells aren't getting the oxygen they need. When cells don't recieve the oxygen they need, they can't continue to function well.
Who's most likely to suffer from poor circulation or a circulatory disorder?
People aged 40+, are overweight, have diabetes or don't get much exercise are more likely to experience poor circulation and if left untreated can develop a more severe circulatory disorder.
Conditions that reduce your blood flow can cause circulation problems, such as:
Smoking: Chemicals cause damage to your blood vessels, putting you at a higher risk.
High blood pressure: When your blood is pushing against your blood vessel walls with force, it can weaken them. This makes it harder for blood to move through them.
Obesity: Being overweight can increase your risk of developing medical problems that slow down your blood flow, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol.
Diabetes: Having too much glucose in the blood can harm the blood vessels.
Deep vein thrombosis: Your body makes a blood clot in your leg, which reduces blood flow.
Pulmonary embolism: A blood clot in your leg breaks off and goes to the lungs, which keeps blood from getting through to your lungs.
Peripheral artery disease: Plaque build up inside your peripheral arteries reduces the amount of blood getting to your legs and feet.
Varicose veins: When your blood pressure goes up, it can damage the walls and valves of your veins. Blood inside varicose veins can flow the wrong way.
Atherosclerosis: Plaque (which contains fat and cholesterol) piles up inside your arteries, limiting blood flow.
Raynaud's disease: Blood vessels in your toes and fingers get narrower when you're stressed or cold.
Symptoms of a circulatory disorder may vary, depending on the type of disorder you have. Some common symptoms of circulatory disorders include feeling lightheaded or dizzy, feeling like you are about to pass out, rapid heartbeat, chest pain, feeling sweaty, feeling cold or numbness in your hands or feet, etc. However, these symptoms may also be due to other health problems, so it's essential to see your doctor confirm the diagnosis.
There are many different types of circulatory disorders, which can be divided into two main categories: those mainly caused by issues with the heart and those caused primarily by problems with the blood vessels.
Issues with the heart can lead to:
• Arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat)
• Cardiomyopathy (weakening of the heart muscle)
• Coronary artery disease (buildup of fat and plaque in the arteries of the heart)
• Congestive heart failure (fluid buildup in the lungs due to weakened heart function) and other heart-related conditions.
Issues with the blood vessels can lead to:
• Varicose veins
• Clogged arteries
• Blood clots and other blood-related conditions.
Anemia is also another common symptom of a circulatory disorder. Anemia is a condition in which the body does not have enough red blood cells or hemoglobin, which carry oxygen through the body.
There are a number of signs of poor circulation. These include:
• Muscles that feel weak or hurt when you walk
• 'Pins and needles' sensation
• Pale or blue skin color
• Cold fingers or toes
• Chest pain
• Veins that bulge
You may feel pain, tingling, numbness, or cold in the parts of your body that have bad circulation. These are often the extremities furthest from the heart, like your legs, hands, fingers, feet, and toes.
Water therapy can help with various circulatory disorders, including thrombosis, phlebitis, and Raynaud's disease. It can also help improve poor circulation in general and reduce inflammation.
Hydrotherapy can help improve circulation by using the properties of water to massage the body and stimulate blood flow. The hydrostatic pressure of water promotes circulation, sending more oxygen and essential nutrients to injured or damaged muscles, reducing inflammation and promoting recovery. The water's pressure can help break up blockages in the veins and arteries, and the warmth of the water can help to relax your muscles and improve circulation deeply.
When you’re in the water, you feel pressure on submerged body parts. This is Hydrostatic pressure, the type of pressure exerted on your body by the water. This provides some compression and enhance blood flow which can help to reduce inflammation and swelling.
Reduce Blood Pressure
Hydrostatic pressure is described as the force exerted by a fluid at rest on a material per unit area. The pressure at any given point within a fluid is due to the weight of the fluid above it—the greater the depth of the water, the greater the pressure. The hydrostatic pressure in our blood vessels helps to keep blood flowing smoothly by providing a force opposite to gravity and other forces that would cause blood to pool in our extremities. In addition, hydrostatic pressure helps maintain the shape of our blood vessels and prevents them from collapsing.
Hydrostatic pressure can help lower blood pressure by reducing the amount of work that the heart has to do to pump blood throughout your body. When blood vessels are relaxed, they have a larger diameter, decreasing blood flow resistance and lowering blood pressure.
Reduces Pain Enabling Exercise
The water helps support the body and take some of the weight off of the joints and body making them easier to move, reducing stiffness and improving circulation.
Improves Longer-Term Circulatory Efforts
Exercising in water can help improve your long-term circulatory efforts for several reasons. First, water is a natural resistance, so working out in water can help to tone and strengthen your muscles. Additionally, the water's hydrostatic pressure can help massage your muscles and improve blood flow. Finally, the water temperature can also help improve circulation by dilating your blood vessels. Regular water workouts can have long-term benefits.
Working out on an aqua bike is a great way to improve blood flow and circulation. The speed and the resistance of the water generated with the Hydrorider Aquabike can improve blood flow and circulation, particularly to the lower limbs.
Regular aqua cycling can increase circulation and help to relieve the symptoms of circulatory disorders. A warm water environment relaxes blood vessels, and as blood flow increases, more blood is delivered to the muscles. When blood flow increases, the blood is enriched with nutrients, and waste products are removed.
Exercising on an aqua treadmill can also support circulation disorders, particularly in cases where walking or running on land is challenging for a person.
There are many benefits to aqua treadmills over regular ones, including better blood flow, reduced stress on joints, and easier access for people with mobility issues.
Note: Please seek medical advice before exercising & always train under the advice your medical specialist.