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Ways to Increase Circulation in Diabetics

By Gina Knutson ; Updated August 14, 2017

Circulation problems can be common in people suffering from diabetes. Poor wound healing can be the result of such poor circulation. According to the American Diabetes Association, poor blood flow in the legs can cause blood vessels to harden and narrow. There are several things you can do to improve your circulation, one of them being to participate in regular exercise. Talk to your doctor before starting any exercise program, and about your circulation issues.

Give Up Smoking

If you have diabetes and are a smoker, one of the most important things you can do to improve your circulation is to stop smoking. The American Diabetes Association explains that your arteries harden faster when you smoke; this hardening of the arteries leads to poor circulation.

Blood Pressure and Cholesterol

Talk to your doctor about getting your blood pressure under control, if it's too high. This will help improve your circulation. It's also important for your circulation to have a cholesterol level that's within a recommended range.

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Watch Your Blood Glucose Level

Another way to improve your circulation, according to the Better Health Channel website, is to monitor your blood glucose levels. It is important that you do all you can to keep your blood glucose level as normal as possible.

Why Exercise Is Important

Exercise is good for most people, but is particularly important for those with diabetes. It will help improve your HDL, or "good," cholesterol level and can also help to lower your blood pressure. Physical activity will improve blood flood in your legs and feet. Choose an exercise you enjoy so you will be more inclined to continue with it. The American Heart Association notes that regular exercise can not only improve circulation, but may reduce a need for medication in some people who have type 2 diabetes.

Aerobic Activity

Aerobic activity, such as bicycling and brisk walking, is a good form of exercise for improving circulation. Since swimming is an non-weight-bearing activity, it may be a better aerobic activity for someone with weight limitations or foot-care issues, according to the American Diabetes Association journal "Circulation." Aim for 30 minutes of aerobic exercise at least five days a week. If you have been inactive for a while, start slowly and work your way up to the goal of 30 minutes a day. If you can not fit in a once-a-day 30-minute exercise session, split up your exercise into two or three sessions.

Use Support Socks

According to the American Diabetes Association, support socks can also help improve circulation in the legs. However, the socks must be used correctly or they can be harmful. Talk to your doctor about support socks and how to use them properly.

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