I've been getting a lot of bruises on my arms, legs, and feet. What could be the cause?
Most bruising is not indicative of a serious problem. If the bruises
are on the limbs and are less than 3 cm in diameter, they are likely
to be the harmless variety. These are usually due to injuries that
are not recalled. Common drugs can also increase bruising. These
include aspirin, ibuprofen and other non-steroidal
anti-inflammatories, some antibiotics, and alcohol. Many
prescription drugs can also increase bruising, so it always helps to
ask the doctor who prescribed a medication, if bruising is a side
effects before looking further.
If bruises are larger or are appearing without apparent cause on
the trunk of the body, then they need to be looked into more. When
bruising is brief and superficial and is spontaneous or after a
trauma, the cause tends to be a dysfunction or the platelets (a
blood product that actual does the clotting) or fragile blood
vessels. When bleeding is into deep tissue and prolonged, it
suggests a problem in one of the more basic blood clotting factors.
Evaluation of bleeding problems will include a complete history of
the family, medications, and other illnesses that might cause the
bleeding. Bruises will be examined for their location, size, and
whether or not they blanch with pressure. The rest of the physical
will look for bleeding of the mouth, rectum, and vagina--areas
which bleed easily, so they will almost certainly show signs if there
is a major bleeding problem. Joints and limbs, liver and spleen will
also be examined. Lab tests will be taken to first evaluate the
general clotting abilities of the blood and later will be more specific
as warranted. In fact, how long it takes your arm to stop bleeding
after the blood in drawn is a clue itself.
The potential causes of bleeding problems are many. Still, almost
all can be successfully treated.