Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Is poor blood circulation genetic?"
Both I and my husband have really bad circulation in our hands and feet - if either of us gets cold hands, it's impossible to warm them back up. My question is: is this genetic, or was it caused by our childhood environments? We have a 3 year old and I want to take care of her circulation as she ages.
When our bodies get cold, there is a natural response to divert blood flow into the body's core to prevent heat loss. The hands and feet are the first parts to lose blood flow. In some people, it takes longer for the body to realize its not losing heat and therefore, it takes longer to restore a normal level of blood flow back to the hands in feet. This usually does not mean you have a poor circulation but rather are within the normal limits of a body's natural response. There are no known genetic or environmental associations with this. There are syndromes where people have dangerously low circulation in their hands. For example patients with Raynaud's phenomenon cannot let their hands get cold or they will turn blue from lack of circulation. Occasionally it can get so bad that some of the fingers need amputated. It is usually associated with autoimmune diseases such as Scleroderma. Another example is the syndrome Thromboangiitis obliterans which is dangerously low circulation associated with smoking. If you are worried that your circulation is bad enough that you may have one of these syndromes, then you should be evaluated by a physician. I suggest scheduling an appointment with your primary care physician to discuss these issues. At the very least, you can get reassured that you circulation is adequate and not dangerous. Good luck.
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