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Everyone bruises from times to time. If someone is constantly banging against furniture or involved in heavy contact sports, bruises are expected. Some people bruise easily, and other people can be knocked around with no apparent bruising. The factors that might explain why you bruise easily include the amount of fat covering your body, fragile capillaries, thin or inelastic skin, genetic disorders and blood disorders. Anyone who often bruises easily should consult a healthcare professional who can test for potentially dangerous medical conditions.
How Bruising Happens
Bruising occurs when blood vessels under the skin break or burst because of a bump or injury. When damaged, the capillaries leak blood under the skin, and purplish or red bruising results. The colors of the bruise will change as the swelling dies down and the bruise fades.
A bruise can occur well below the surface of the skin. Deeper bruising can affect the tissues and organs. Although you will not be able to see these bruises, they can still swell and cause pain. A doctor should be consulted for any internal injury or pain.
Reasons for Easy Bruises
If you do not have an adequate layer of body fat, then bruises will sometimes appear with the slightest bump. This is one of the reasons why some elderly people and children bruise easily. They might not have adequate fat on their arms and legs and might tend to bruise easily in those areas. Some people, especially the elderly, have capillaries that are more fragile or skin that is thinner than normal or has lost some of its elasticity. Both of these factors can lead to easier bruising.
Another reason that some people bruise easily is a rare genetic disorder called von Willebrand disease, which prevents the blood from clotting properly. This disorder affects at least 1 percent of all people. The symptoms of von Willebrand disease include excessive bleeding, especially in the nose and gums. The condition can also cause sufferers to bruise easily, typically in unusual locations. Symptoms of von Willebrand disease can be very mild, so it often goes undetected. Von Willebrand disease is treated with a medication called desmopressin.
Bruising is not abnormal. In some cases, you might bruise easily from time to time for no apparent reason. The colors of a bruise can sometimes look frightening, and they usually depend on the severity of the injury. If you experience any bruising that seems unusual, consult a doctor. Bruising can sometimes be a symptom of other illness, such as an irregularity in the liver or in the blood clotting mechanism.
If you bruise easily because of accidental or sports-related injuries, it is best to limit the amount of bleeding that occurs. This can be achieved simply by applying an ice pack to the area. If you have no ice available, you can take an item from your freezer, such as a bag of frozen vegetables, and apply it to the bruise.