Why you bruise so easily

When you damage blood vessels close to the surface of your skin they can leak, creating a darker, more sensitive area called a bruise. You may knock your leg against a table leg and anticipate a bruise, or simply find them along your arms and legs and wonder where they came from. Some people bruise more easily than others, and there are a number of reasons why.

As you get older, you begin to lose the fatty layer below the surface of your skin, which helps to protect your blood vessels from harm. With less protection, bumping your shin on your bedframe is far more likely to leave a bruise.

Sun exposure
If you’ve spent a lot of time in the sun, it’s likely that the blood vessels on the backs of your arms and hands have been damaged by the exposure, making them weak and more susceptible to bruising.

If you don’t manage your blood sugar levels, over time high blood sugar can damage your blood vessels, making you more susceptible to long-lasting bruises.

Blood thinning pain killers such as ibuprofen and aspirin can make it more difficult for your blood to clot, meaning bruises are more likely to form when you hurt yourself. Some steroids can make your skin more fragile, and some antibiotics can make you more susceptible to bruising.

Vitamin deficiency
Your body uses vitamin C to produce collagen, which helps to keep your blood vessels strong and healthy. While vitamin C deficiency is rare, it is more common among smokers, and can make you more prone to bruising.

Vitamin K plays an important role in blood clotting. While most healthy adults get enough vitamin K in their daily diet, those who don’t are more prone to bruising.

Family history
Being susceptible to bruising can run in the family, like other inheritable traits such as hair colour and dimples. Women are also more likely to have delicate blood vessels in the thighs and upper arms, making them more prone to bruising.

According to WebMD, taking some supplements including ginseng, garlic and ginkgo can thin your blood, making it harder for your blood to clot to prevent bruising.

Over exercising
If you play contact sports, or overexert yourself when doing exercise, you make create tiny tears in your blood vessels, which can lead to bruising.

Blood conditions
Some rare blood conditions can make you more vulnerable to bruising. A condition called haemophilia prevents your body from making enough proteins for your blood to clot properly, making you bruise easily.  

While its very rare, leukemia is another cause of bruising. It can cause your body to produce too many white blood cells, which interferes with your blood, increasing your risk of bruising.

If you drink frequently and find that you bruise easily, it may be a sign that your liver isn’t working as it should be. Liver damage can prevent your liver from producing proteins that help your blood clot when necessary. If you think this may be the case, consult your GP. Remember to be honest about the amount you drink, as your doctor likely knows when you’re lying.

Do you bruise easily? Do you often notice bruises you don’t recall getting?

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Disclaimer: This article contains general information about health issues and is not advice. For health advice, consult your medical practitioner.

Written by Liv Gardiner


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