Blood pooling in the legs is a common problem that can be caused by a number of factors, including pregnancy, sitting or standing for long periods of time, obesity, and varicose veins.
If you’re someone who suffers from any form of chronic illness then you’re likely familiar with blood pooling. Especially if you have postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, or POTS.
Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) is a type of dysautonomia, which is a disorder of the autonomic nervous system. The autonomic nervous system controls involuntary functions, such as heart rate, blood pressure, and digestion. In people with POTS, the autonomic nervous system does not function properly, which can cause a number of symptoms, including:
- Lightheadedness or dizziness
- Brain fog
- Exercise intolerance
- Chest pain
- Swollen hands and feet
- Blood pooling in the lower extremities
Blood pooling is a common symptom of POTS. When you stand up, gravity causes blood to pool in your lower extremities. In some cases, blood pooling can also cause your legs and feet to turn red, purple, or blue.
The exact cause of blood pooling in POTS is not fully understood. However, it is thought to be due to a number of factors, including:
- Low blood volume
- Poor blood vessel tone
- Abnormal nerve signals
If you are experiencing symptoms of POTS, it is important to see a doctor for diagnosis and treatment. With the right treatment, you can manage your symptoms and live a full and active life.
Signs of Blood Pooling in POTS Patients
When blood pools in the legs, it can cause a number of symptoms in all people, including:
- Tightness or heaviness in the legs
- Discoloration of the skin
- Varicose veins
For POTS patients, you may notice these types of symptoms of blood pooling day to day:
- Struggling to find shoes because of wide feet
- Uncomfortable when wearing socks/shoes
- Tingly or hot/burning sensation in feet/legs
- Naturally elevating your feet at all opportunities
- Struggling with standing for a longer than around 30 minutes
- Foot pain from standing
Tips for managing blood pooling in POTS:
Increase your fluid intake. Drink plenty of water throughout the day, especially when you are exercising or sweating. You may also want to add a little salt to your food. We recommend using an oral rehydration salt (ORS) like NormaLyte to ensure you’re getting the recommended amount of sodium within your diet. We have free samples available if you'd like to try it without a larger purchase commitment.
Wear compression stockings. Compression stockings help to keep blood from pooling in your legs. You can wear them all day or just when you are standing or walking for long periods of time. Compression socks are a must if you’re traveling by either plane or car for longer distances.
Elevate your legs. When you are sitting or lying down, elevate your legs above your heart. This will help to drain blood from your legs and back to your heart.
Avoid standing for long periods of time. If you need to stand for long periods of time, take breaks to sit or lie down. You can also try moving your legs around or doing some light exercises to help keep blood flowing.
Get regular exercise. We know. You hear this a lot, but the fact is that exercise really will help you manage symptoms of POTS by improving blood flow and circulation. However, it is important to start slowly and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts.
Get enough sleep. When you are well-rested, your body is better able to regulate its blood pressure and blood flow.
If you are experiencing blood pooling in POTS, talk to your doctor about the best ways to manage your symptoms. With the right treatment, you can live a full and active life.
When to See a Doctor
If you have any concerns about blood pooling in the legs, talk to your doctor. They can help you determine the best course of treatment for your individual needs.
If you experience any of the following symptoms, it is important to see a doctor right away:
- Sudden onset of severe pain in the leg
- Redness, warmth, or swelling in the leg
- A feeling of heaviness or tightness in the leg
- Cramps in the leg
- A skin ulcer that does not heal
These symptoms could be signs of a more serious condition so it is important to seek medical attention right away if you experience any of these.
Have you experienced blood pooling? What has worked for you? Drop a comment and let us know your experiences.