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Health Here’s Why You Bruise So Easily, According to a Doctor

22:01  29 july  2022
22:01  29 july  2022 Source:   prevention.com

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Being banged up because you’re accident prone or work a physical job is one thing. Being covered in bruises for no particular reason is another. If you’re in the latter category, that means you bruise easily, which should raise a red flag and prompt further investigation into your health.

Here, a doctor explains what it means to bruise easily, causes, treatments, and when to see a medical professional. Medications and aging are big contributors. © Francesca Dagrada / EyeEm - Getty Images Here, a doctor explains what it means to bruise easily, causes, treatments, and when to see a medical professional. Medications and aging are big contributors.

Why do I bruise so easily?

There are various reasons why a black-and-blue spot may appear with little instigation. But to first make clear what a bruise is: It’s the result of a broken blood vessel (a.k.a. capillary) which causes a leakage and collection of blood under the skin’s surface, explains Riza Conroy M.D., a family medicine physician at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. So, if you bruise often, it means those capillaries are extra fragile—a vulnerability primarily caused by aging; medications including steroids, blood thinners, and over-the-counter pain killers; alcohol abuse; and malnutrition, per Dr. Conroy.

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Anti-inflammatories like aspirin and ibuprofen, as well as blood thinners, affect the blood’s ability to clot, per the Mayo Clinic, which can lead to excess leakage when a capillary bursts upon impact, resulting in gnarly bruises. Long-term steroid use, on the other hand, causes thinning of the skin, making it more susceptible to bruising. That same logic applies to older folks’ tendency to bruise like a peach.

“As people get older, skin becomes thinner and the fatty layer that helps cushion or protects the blood vessels from injury is significantly thinned out or gone,” explains Dr. Conroy.

Other more serious bruising culprits are kidney and liver malfunction, leukemia, or a vitamin K deficiency, which affect’s the blood’s ability to clot, she adds.

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How to treat bruises and help them heal faster

Dr. Conroy says a bruise will get better on its own. But to feel better and help your bruise heal, she says you can:

  • Ice it down: Apply a cold gel pack, bag of ice, or bag of frozen vegetables to the injured area for 15 minutes every one to two hours. You can do this for as little as six hours or up to two days after the injury. Make sure to put a thin towel between the ice and your skin.
  • Elevate, if possible: Raising the area above the level of your heart helps to reduce swelling.
  • Take medicine: To treat pain, you can take acetaminophen (Tylenol). To treat pain and swelling, ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) works. “But people who have certain conditions or take certain medicines should not take ibuprofen,” says Dr. Conroy. “If you are unsure, ask your doctor.”
  • Bandage up: Using an elastic compression bandage to keep pressure on the area can reduce swelling. Conroy advises not to wrap the bandage too tightly. “For most injuries, you can use the bandage during the first few days of healing, but take it off when you sleep,” she adds.

What not do, Dr. Conroy says, is to apply heat within the first 48 hours, as it can increase swelling and pain.

When to see a doctor about bruising

If the occasional few spots escalate into joint swelling, the inability to move or walk, or if you have unusual bleeding in areas like your gums or urine (in addition to unexplained bruises), Dr. Conroy says to call your doctor or seek professional help.

Additional reporting by: Korin Miller

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This is interesting!