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How Anxiety Can Create Circulation Problems

Daniel Sher, MA, Clin Psychology
How Anxiety Can Create Circulation Problems

Your blood plays a crucial role when it comes to the functioning of your body. Beyond simply carrying oxygen and nutrients, your blood warm various parts of your body and helps to protect you from illnesses and infections. Your entire circulatory system and related aspects of health depend on your blood flowing appropriately through your veins.

Blood circulation problems can be serious medical issues. But there are a few circulation problems that are really the result of nothing more than anxiety.

Anxiety Circulation Problems Are Not Dangerous

It's important to always speak with a doctor first, when trying to get clarity on what’s going on with your circulation. That's because while anxiety-related circulation problems are not dangerous, heart problems are, and it's always a good idea to have a check-up just to be safe.  

Although circulation changes related to anxiety are not dangerous, it may be a scary experience and you might find yourself believing that you are in danger because of what’s going on in your body. All of this can be affected anxiety-related factors, including:

Circulation fears are also self-fulfilling. In some cases, those with poor circulation from anxiety worry that they may be suffering from heart failure or other heart problems. This may increase your anxiety levels, which ultimately may lead to further circulation problems. In addition, many people check and recheck their blood pressure and heartbeat, and this behavior also may reinforce and increase one’s anxiety.

How to Improve Circulation Problems Caused By Anxiety

When anxiety leads to blood circulation problems, the only way to control them is to control your anxiety. It's the only solution that will allow blood to circulate from your muscles back into your hands and feet, and reduce some of the other issues caused by circulation and anxiousness.

Seeing a trained psychologist can be beneficial. You can also try the following at-home strategies that are known to benefit those with anxiety, including:

Still, the main key is to make sure that you are doing whatever it takes to control your anxiety, because this what ultimately underlies your circulation difficulties. Making smart decisions for anxiety relief based on your symptoms is the way forward if you wish to take control of your symptoms.

Article Resources
  1. Barlow, T. E., et al. The effect of adrenaline and noradrenaline on the blood flow, electrical conductance and external secretion of the pancreas. The Journal of P hysiology 217.3 (1971): 665-678.  
  2. Field, Tiffany, et al. Massage reduces anxiety in child and adolescent psychiatric patients. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry 31.1 (1992): 125-131.
  3. Guszkowska, M. Effects of exercise on anxiety, depression and mood. Psychiatria polska 38.4 (2004): 611.
  4. Kety, Seymour S., and Carl F. Schmidt. The effects of active and passive hyperventilation on cerebral blood flow, cerebral oxygen consumption, cardiac output, and blood pressure of normal young men. Journal of Clinical Investigation 25.1 (1946): 107.
  5. Kirkwood, Graham, et al. Yoga for anxiety: a systematic review of the research evidence. British Journal of Sports Medicine 39.12 (2005): 884-891.
  6. Raichle, Marcus E., and F. Plum. Hyperventilation and cerebral blood flow. Stroke 3.5 (1972): 566-575.
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