What causes bruises easily? 28 possible conditions

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Definition

Bruises easily is when the capillaries (small blood vessels) beneath the skin break easily and frequently and leak blood into the surrounding tissue, creating discolorations.

Alternative Names

Easy bruising, increased tendency to bruise.

Synopsis

Most of us get bruises from bumping into something from time to time. Bruising sometimes increases with age, especially in women as the capillary walls become more fragile and the skin becomes thin. Some medications such as aspirin, warfarin, steroids and clopidogrel may increase one’s tendency to bleed. The occasional bruise is not much concern medically speaking, but if you are bruising easily, with large bruises or bleeding elsewhere (like your gums when brushing your teeth), it could be a sign of a serious medical condition and warrants attention.

It is important to be aware that unexplained bruising may be a sign of domestic violence or abuse. Your health providers are required by law to ask you questions to make sure you are safe in your domestic situation.

Associated Diagnoses

  • 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
  • Glomerulonephritis
  • Hairy cell leukemia
  • Leukemia
  • Hemophila A
  • Low platelet count
  • Medullary cystic disease
  • Paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria
  • Von Willebrand disease

Diagnosis and Treatment

Blood tests to measure the level of platelets and the time it takes your blood to coagulate will likely be done. If there is swelling and pain with bruising, elevate it and apply a cold compress for 20 minutes until the swelling is reduced. After the swelling is reduced (after 72 hours), you may apply a warm compress to help reabsorb the blood.

Call your provider if:

You are bruising more frequently than usually and if bruising is accompanied by bleeding from any where else, such as in the urine.

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See a list of possible causes in order from the most common to the least.

1

Low Platelet Count (Thrombocytopenia)

A low platelet count, also called thrombocytopenia, affects your blood's ability to clot. This can cause red, purple, or brown bruising, prolonged bleeding, and nosebleeds.

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2

Leukemia

Leukemia is a cancer of the blood cells. Excessive sweating at night, constant fatigue, weight loss, bone pain, and easy bleeding or bruising are all signs of this disease.

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3

Factor X Deficiency

Factor X deficiency, also called Stuart-Prower factor deficiency, is a condition caused by not having enough of the protein known as factor X (ten) in your blood. A common symptom is easy bruising.

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4

Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP)

Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) is a disorder where the blood doesn

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5

Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation (DIC)

Disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) is a rare, life-threatening condition that prevents blood from clotting normally. The blood clots reduce blood flow and can block blood from reaching bodily organs. Thi...

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6

Factor II Deficiency

Factor II deficiency is a very rare blood clotting disorder caused by a lack of prothrombin, a protein that helps blood clot. Severe cases may cause unexplained bruising, bleeding gums, and nosebleeds.

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7

Factor V Deficiency

Factor V deficiency is a very rare blood clotting disorder also known as Owren's disease or parahemophilia. It results in slow or prolonged blood clotting, bruising, and nosebleeds.

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8

Hemophilia A

Hemophilia A (factor VIII deficiency) is the most common form of the blood clotting disorder hemophilia. It can cause prolonged bleeding, tight joints, and unexplained bruising.

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9

Factor VII Deficiency

Factor VII deficiency is a blood clotting disorder due to a deficiency in factor VII, a protein produced in the liver. It can cause bruising and soft tissue bleeding.

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10

Christmas Disease (Hemophilia B)

Also called hemophilia B or factor IX hemophilia, Christmas disease is a rare genetic disorder in which your blood does not clot properly. A common symptom is unexplained or excessive bruising.

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11

Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia

Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) is the most common cancer in childhood, although it can also occur in adults. ALL is a cancer of the blood and bone marrow. Cancer occurs when abnormal cells in a part of the body begi...

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12

Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML)

Leukemia is a type of cancer that starts in the blood or blood-forming tissues. There are many different types of leukemia, and treatment is different for each one. Chronic leukemias are slower growing than acut...

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13

Acquired Platelet Function Disorder

Platelets are a type of blood cell. They play an important role in healing from injuries. Platelets help your body to form blood clots and stop bleeding. Some people's platelets don't function the way they should. Thi...

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14

Kidney Failure

Your kidneys are a pair of organs located toward your lower back of the body, on either side of the spine. Your kidneys' main function is to act as a filtration system for your blood and to remove toxins from you...

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15

Acute Myeloid Leukemia

Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a cancer that occurs in the blood and the marrow of the bones. Marrow is sponge-like material inside the bones that produces blood cells. AML specifically affects the white blood cells o...

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16

Chronic Kidney Disease

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) causes destruction of the kidneys. It is progressive and irreversible.Your kidneys are an essential part of your body. They have a number of functions: help maintain the balance of mineral...

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17

End-Stage Kidney Disease

A diagnosis of end-stage kidney disease means that you are in the final stage of kidney disease, and your kidneys are not functioning well enough to meet the needs of daily life. Your kidneys are responsible fo...

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18

Glomerulonephritis

The glomeruli are structures in your kidneys made up of tiny blood vessels. These knots of vessels help filter blood and remove excess fluid. If your glomeruli are damaged, your kidneys will stop longer work properly...

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19

Hairy Cell Leukemia

Hairy cell leukemia (HCL) is a rare type of blood and bone marrow cancer that affects the B-lymphocytes (a type of white blood cells that make antibodies that fight infections). If you have HCL, your body produces ...

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20

German Measles (Rubella)

German measles, also called rubella, is a rare condition in the United States. With the introduction of the rubella vaccine in the late 1960s, the incidence of German measles has significantly declined. But the diseas...

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This feature is for informational purposes only and should not be used to diagnose.
Please consult a healthcare professional if you have health concerns.
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