Bruises are a common result of skin injuries. If you’ve noticed that you bruise easily, it might be more than just clumsiness at work. While it’s perfectly normal for some people to bruise easily, this could also be an indication of certain underlying health issues, such as blood disorders, malnutrition, certain medications, or age-related changes. This article provides you with insights into why some people bruise more easily than others and how to manage this condition.
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Why do Bruises Occur?
Bruises, or contusions, form when small blood vessels, or capillaries, near the skin’s surface break or rupture, usually due to an injury. Blood leaks out of these vessels, causing a visible discoloration under your skin. As your body starts to heal, the bruise will typically change color – from red and purple to green and yellow – before finally fading away.
- Small, light bruises – These are common and often occur due to minor injuries or bumps.
- Large, deep bruises – Also known as hematomas, these can cause pain and swelling and may take longer to heal.
Why Do Some People Bruise More Easily?
Easy bruising can be influenced by several factors, including:
- Age: As you age, your skin becomes thinner and loses some fatty layer that protects your blood vessels from injury, according to Dr. William Nichols, M.D., Hematology, Mayo Clinic. This can make you more prone to bruising.
- Gender: Women, especially those on certain hormones like birth control pills, may bruise more easily than men.
- Dietary deficiencies: Lack of certain nutrients, such as vitamin C and vitamin K, can make you prone to easy bruising.
- Medications: Some medications or supplements, such as aspirin, anticoagulants, corticosteroids, fish oil, and ginkgo can make your blood thinner and increase your likelihood of bruising. If you’re taking these medications and notice more bruising, it’s worth discussing with your doctor.
When Should You Be Concerned?
Occasional bruising is normal, but if you begin to bruise frequently and without any known cause, it might be time to consult a healthcare professional. Unexplained and frequent bruising could be an indication of more serious conditions such as:
- Blood clotting disorders: Conditions like hemophilia and Von Willebrand disease affect your blood’s ability to clot, leading to easy bruising.
- Liver disease: Your liver plays a key role in the production of blood-clotting proteins. If your liver is damaged, it could result in easy bruising.
How to Deal with Easy Bruising?
For minor bruises, you can:
- Apply a cold compress to the area immediately after an injury to reduce blood flow around the area.
- Elevate the bruised area, if possible, to limit the amount of blood that seeps into the surrounding tissues.
- Over-the-counter creams and ointments may help reduce the appearance of a bruise.
If your bruising is severe or caused by an underlying health condition, your healthcare provider may recommend treatment options such as:
- Adjusting the dose of any medications that may be causing your bruising.
- Dietary supplements to address any deficiencies.
- In some cases, treatment for the underlying disease may be required.
Bruising easily can be a normal part of life, particularly as you get older or if you’re a woman; however, if you start to notice that you’re frequently bruising and without any known cause, it’s worth speaking with your doctor. While it’s often nothing to worry about, it’s always better to be safe and rule out any potential underlying health issues. Keep in mind your body knows best, and any changes, including bruising, are worth paying attention to.