What causes bruises easily? 28 possible conditions
Bruising easily means that the small blood vessels (capillaries) beneath the skin break easily and frequently. They then leak blood into the surrounding tissue and create discolorations.
Easy bruising, or increased tendency to bruise.
Most of us get bruises from bumping into something from time to time. Bruising sometimes increases with age. This is especially true in women as the capillary walls become more fragile and the skin becomes thin. Medications that may increase a person’s tendency to bleed include:
- other medications used to prevent clotting (blood thinners)
The occasional bruise typically doesn’t cause much medical concern. If you’re bruising easily, with large bruises or bleeding elsewhere it could be a sign of a serious medical condition that warrants attention.
It’s important to be aware that unexplained bruising may be a sign of domestic violence or abuse. Your doctors are required by law to ask you questions to make sure you are safe in your domestic situation.
Other diagnoses or associated conditions that can cause easy bruising include:
- acquired platelet function disorder
- brittle bone disease
- celiac disease
- Christmas disease
- chronic kidney failure
- Cushings syndrome
- end stage kidney disease
- factor II deficiency
- factor V deficiency
- factor VII deficiency
- factor X deficiency
- german measles
- hairy cell leukemia
- hemophila A
- low platelet count
- medullary cystic disease
- paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria
- Von Willebrand disease
Diagnosis and Treatment
Blood tests will probably be done to measure the level of platelets and the time it takes your blood to coagulate (clot). If there is swelling and pain with bruising, the first line of treatment is to apply a cold compress. If an extremity is involved, elevate the arm or leg and apply a cold compress for 20 minutes until the swelling is reduced. After the swelling is reduced, you may apply a warm compress to help reabsorb the blood.
When To Call Your Doctor
Call your doctor if you’re bruising more frequently than usual and if bruising is accompanied by bleeding from anywhere else, such as in the urine.
- Bruises. (2014, March 17). Retrieved from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/bruises.html
- Mayo Clinic Staff. (2014, May 5). Easy bruising: Common as you age. Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/healthy-aging/in-depth/easy-bruising/art-20045762
- What’s causing me to bruise so easily and what I do to prevent it? (2008, March). Retrieved from https://www.aakp.org/education/resourcelibrary/dialysis-resources/item/what-s-causing-me-to-bruise-so-easily-and-what-i-do-to-prevent-it.html
See a list of possible causes in order from the most common to the least.
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