Alternate Names : Purpura, Hematoma, Ecchymoses, Contusion, Petechiae
Bruising is an area of discolored skin. Bruising develops when the lining of
small blood vessels is damaged, allowing blood cells to escape into the skin
and tissues. This condition most often occurs after a person injures a
particular part of the body.
What is going on in the body?
A person may notice several stages of bruising. A bruise usually starts out as
a red area or as tiny red dots or splotches on the skin. Within days to a week
or so, the bruise becomes more purple. As it heals, it becomes
brownish-yellow. Generally, bruises heal and disappear within 2 to 3 weeks.
What are the causes and risks of the symptom?
As a person ages, he or she will bruise more easily. The layer of protective
fat just under the skin becomes thinner. The small blood vessels also become
more fragile and are more easily damaged. Frequent long-term exposure to the
sun can also cause the skin to be more fragile and likely to bruise. The
tendency to bruise easily may run in families.
Other causes of bruising may include the following:
blood disorders, including problems with blood clotting such as hemophilia A
blood-related diseases such as leukemia, a blood cancer
certain disorders in which bone marrow cells grow at an abnormal
nutritional deficiencies, such as deficiency in vitamins C, K, B12, or folic acid
sepsis, or severe infection in the bloodstream
systemic lupus erythematosus, an autoimmune
disorder in which a person's body attacks its own cells for unknown
trauma, or injury
prolonged coughing or vomiting
medications, such as blood thinners
abuse, such as child abuse, spousal abuse, or elder abuse
surgery or other medical procedures