Bruising Excessively

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.

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