What causes bruises easily? 20 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

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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2

End-Stage Kidney Disease

End-stage kidney disease is the final stage of kidney disease. Signs include an inability to urinate, headache, change in skin color, excessive thirst, and swelling in the legs and hands.

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3

German Measles (Rubella)

German measles, also known as rubella, is a rare viral condition. One of its symptoms is a pink rash that begins on the face and spreads downward.

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4

Glomerulonephritis

Glomerulonephritis occurs when blood filtering vessels in the kidneys are damaged. This may contribute to kidney failure, which causes fatigue, insomnia, itchy skin, and other symptoms.

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5

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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6

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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7

Celiac Disease (Gluten Intolerance)

Celiac disease is a digestive disorder caused by an immune reaction to gluten. Symptoms vary but can include arthritis, fatigue, and abdominal symptoms.

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8

Brittle Bone Disease (Osteogenesis Imperfecta)

Brittle bone disease is a congenital disorder that results in fragile bones that break easily. Symptoms include short stature, easy bruising, curvature of the spine, and weakness.

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9

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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10

Von Willebrand Disease

Von Willebrand disease is a rare bleeding disorder caused by a deficiency of von Willebrand factor (VWF), which helps blood clot. Symptoms include excessive nose bleeds and easy bruising.

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11

Factor II Deficiency

Factor II deficiency is a very rare blood clotting disorder that results in excessive or prolonged bleeding after an injury or surgery. Factor II, also known as prothrombin, is a protein made in your liver that plays a...

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12

Christmas Disease (Hemophilia B)

Christmas disease - also called hemophilia B or factor IX hemophilia - is a rare genetic disorder in which your blood does not clot properly. If you have Christmas disease, your body produces little or no blood-clottin...

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13

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 in your blood. Factor X plays a role in blood clotting, also calle...

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14

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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15

Factor VII Deficiency

Factor VII deficiency is a blood clotting disorder that causes excessive or prolonged bleeding after an injury or surgery. With Factor VII deficiency, your body either doesn't produce enough factor VII, or something i...

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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

Cushing Syndrome

Cushing syndrome is when your body has abnormally high levels of a hormone called cortisol. This can happen for a variety of reasons, the most common of which is overuse of corticosteroid medications.Symptoms include ...

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18

Medullary Cystic Disease

Medullary cystic kidney disease (MCKD) is a rare condition in which small, fluid-filled sacs called cysts form in the center of the kidneys. These cysts scar the kidneys and cause them to malfunction. In order t...

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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

What You Need to Know About Paroxysmal Nocturnal Hemoglobinuria

Paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH) is a rare disorder that causes red blood cells to break down sooner than they should. The results of this premature destruction can lead to symptoms and complications that rang...

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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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