Causes of Poor Circulation in Teenagers

The process of blood flow throughout the body is called circulation. Poor blood circulation is characterized by symptoms in the extremities, or hand, arms, feet and legs, including numbness, tingling or cold temperature. Various diseases can lead to poor blood circulation in teenagers.


Raynaud's is a condition caused by poor circulation, leading to painful and cold hands and feet. The extremities of the body, usually the fingers and toes, turn white and then blue because of blood vessels narrowing or constricting, restricting blood flow. About one in 20 people develop Raynaud's, and many first notice the disorder as teenagers. Raynaud's can be a result of scleroderma, an autoimmune rheumatic disease characterized by skin changes and gastroesophageal reflux disease. Smoking may worsen symptoms. Certain medications can also cause problems, so you should disclose all medications you are taking to your health care provider. Caffeine can also cause symptoms. To prevent symptoms, try to stay warm in cold weather, don't touch cold objects and get regular exercise to improve circulation. To stop symptoms, try soaking hands and feet in warm water. See a health care provider for other advice and to discuss medical options like the drug nifedipine, which dilates small blood vessels.

Buerger's disease

Buerger's disease, or thromboangiitis obliterans, is a rare disease of the arteries and veins in the arms and legs in which blood vessels swell and become blocked with blood clots 1. It usually affects men and women ages 20 to 40, but is possible in teenagers. The disease is caused by using tobacco products. Symptoms include pain and weakness in the arms and hands or legs and feet, swelling of the hands and feet, fingers and toes that turn pale when exposed to cold and open sores on fingers and toes. See a doctor if you believe you may have Buerger's disease 1. If you have it, it is crucial to stop all tobacco use.

Peripheral Arterial Disease

Peripheral arterial disease, PAD, is characterized by narrowed arteries reducing blood flow to the limbs. It can be found in teenagers, although it is not common. Symptoms can be only mild leg pain or numbness, tingling, or coldness in the lower legs or feet and sores or infections on your feet or legs that heal slowly. PAD increases the risk of heart attack and stroke. See a health care provider if you believe you may have PAD. Medication and exercise may help relieve symptoms.

DiGeorge Syndrome

DiGeorge syndrome is a disorder caused by a defect in chromosome 22 that leads to heart defects, poor immune system function, a cleft palate, poor function of the parathyroid glands and behavioral disorders. Bluish skin due to poor circulation is one symptom. Those with DiGeorge syndrome are usually diagnosed early in life.

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