Poor Circulation Causes

Circulation problems can range from mild to serious. That’s not to say that mildly poor circulation in hands isn’t annoying, it can be incredibly so. Most people will suffer from poor circulation in their hands at some point. This is often due to the natural defense mechanisms of our body. It is important though to be aware of what causes poor circulation in our hands so that we can differentiate between those natural causes and those that are actual conditions that require further attention.

Common Causes of Poor Circulation in Hands:


Temperature: Most of the time this is the biggest cause. When it gets cold, our body’s natural method for protecting our vital organs is to direct most of our blood to those organs. Because we can survive without our hands, but not our heart, these along with our feet are the first things to be sacrificed.

Smoking: A huge cause of poor circulation to the extremities, cigarettes contain carbon monoxide, which inhibits our body’s ability to carry oxygen.

Diabetes: A common side effect of diabetes is a breakdown in the circulatory system in the hands and feet. This can often have dire consequences if left untreated.

Arteriosclerosis: caused by fatty plaques, which cause the arteries to effectively become narrower, thus inhibiting blood flow. These can build up anywhere in the body, but as the arteries become smaller, such as in the hands, they can become more noticeable and have a lot more symptoms.

High Blood Pressure: Often linked with the causes above and below, high blood pressure can eventually lead to your circulatory system becoming strained and less able to carry vital nutrients to the hands.

High Cholesterol: This is linked as a cause of arteriosclerosis and high blood pressure.

Caffeine & Alcohol: both of these substances can constrict the blood vessels all over the body, but often it is felt acutely in the hands.

Heart Disease: There will likely be other symptoms rather than just those associated with poor circulation in hands, but various forms of heart disease can lead to circulatory problems in the hands.

Inactivity: When sitting still for an extended period of time or when your hands and arms aren’t moving or working, circulation in the hands is likely to decrease. See why here

Obesity: A leading cause of circulation problems in general, obesity leads to a harder working heart and more micro circulation systems that the heart needs to supply.

Injury: You will likely know if this is the cause. Injuries to the arms or hands can disrupt circulation to the extremities.

Raynaud’s Phenomenon: Also known as Raynaud’s Disease, this condition causes the blood vessels in the hands and feet to narrow and can even cause spasms or ‘attacks’ which can last for short to long periods. The condition can be mild to severe with a number of possible symptoms.

Buerger’s Disease: Associated with smoking, diabetes and conditions such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure, this condition causes blood clots in the hands and feet and inflammation of the small blood vessels, resulting in a number of potential symptoms.


Once you become aware of these causes they become much easier to treat. Remember that just because you have symptoms associated with these conditions doesn’t mean that you necessarily have the condition.