Bruises, also called contusions, occur when trauma damages or ruptures tiny blood vessels beneath the skin. In most cases, bruising in older adults is the result of an injury, a fall, or a collision. Fragile skin is a common problem in older adults because skin cells divide more slowly, and skin begins to thin.
Why is easy bruising so common in older adults? Most bruises form when small blood vessels (capillaries) near the skin’s surface are broken by the impact of a blow or injury — often on the arms or legs. When this happens, blood leaks out of the vessels and initially appears as a black-and-blue mark.
Purpura occurs when small blood vessels burst, causing blood to pool under the skin . This can create purple spots on the skin that range in size from small dots to large patches . Purpura spots are generally benign, but may indicate a more serious medical condition, such as a blood clotting disorder.
If the skin does get injured, apply cold compresses and keep the area elevated. Then, apply warm compresses to increase circulation to speed up healing of the bruise . Over-the-counter medications, such as Vitamin K creams, may help bruises fade away quicker.
Sudden unexplained bruising or blood spots under the skin or a sudden increase in the frequency of bruising may be caused by: A medicine , such as aspirin or blood thinners ( anticoagulants ). Infection that causes the buildup of toxin in the blood or tissues (sepsis ).
A person should seek medical attention any time they have the following symptoms or issues associated with bruising : a suspected broken bone. loss of function of a joint, limb or muscle. increasing pain.
Small red spots (petechiae) As well as medium-to-large bruises , you might notice “rashes” appearing on your skin. Small, pinhead-sized red spots on the skin (called “petechiae”) may be a sign of leukaemia . These small red spots are actually very small bruises that cluster so that they look like a rash.
Vitamin K Deficiency Vitamin K may not get as much attention as some other vitamins . But it plays an important role in blood clotting. If you don’t get enough vitamin K, you could get more bruises . Still, most healthy adults get enough of this vitamin from foods like leafy green vegetables.
The following treatments can be done at home: Ice therapy. Apply ice immediately after the injury to reduce blood flow around the area. Heat. You can apply heat to boost circulation and increase blood flow. Compression. Wrap the bruised area in an elastic bandage. Elevation. Arnica. Vitamin K cream. Aloe vera. Vitamin C.
You may begin to bruise easily if you aren’t getting enough iron . That’s because your body needs iron to keep your blood cells healthy. If your blood cells aren’t healthy, your body won’t be able to get the oxygen that it needs to function. This may make your skin more susceptible to bruising .
Call the doctor if bruising occurs easily or for no apparent reason. Call the doctor if the bruise is painful and under a toenail or fingernail. Call the doctor if a bruise does not improve within two weeks or fails to completely clear after three or four weeks.
Your cuts or bruises take forever to heal. Impaired wound healing can be a sign that you’re deficient in vitamin D .