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Bruises (cont.)

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What are some less common causes of bruising, and what do they indicate?

The terminology describing different types of bruising often refers to not only their appearance but also to their cause. Petechiae refer to 1- to 3-millimeter accumulations of blood beneath the skin. These can appear like multiple tiny red dots on any part of the body (most commonly the legs). Most often these are multiple, and they can suggest that there is serious health problem present. Examples of these are an infection of the valves of the heart (endocarditis) or abnormal function of the blood-clotting elements (platelets). Bruising around the navel (belly button) can be a result of bleeding within the abdomen. Bruising behind the ear (Battle's sign) can indicate that there is a skull fracture. Lastly, bruises that are raised, firm, multiple, and occur without any injury can be a sign of various types of "autoimmune" diseases (diseases in which the body attacks its own blood vessels). Each of these should be evaluated by a doctor.

What is the treatment for bruising?

There are a couple of things that you can do to prevent or minimize bruising after an injury. First, try a cold compress. Put ice in a plastic bag, wrap the bag in a towel (applying the ice directly to the skin can cause frostbite), and place it on the injured area. Commercial ice packs are also available, but a bag of frozen peas makes an excellent substitute. It molds to the shape of the injured area and can then be re-frozen and used again (but don't eat them!). The cold reduces the blood flow to the area and therefore limits bleeding into the skin and reduces the size of the bruise. The cold also decreases the inflammation in the area of the injury and limits swelling in this way as well. If possible, elevate the area above the level of the heart. The lower an extremity is below the heart, the more blood will flow to the area and increase the bleeding and swelling.

Avoid taking the medications listed above that can contribute to bruising. If you have any questions about whether or not your medication can contribute to bruising, ask your doctor or pharmacist. Do not stop any prescription medications without first contacting your doctor.

Finally, pressure applied to the area (by hand, not with tourniquets) can reduce bleeding.

People who take medicines that reduce clotting ("blood thinners") or have clotting abnormalities should seek the advice of a physician immediately, as should the elderly or those who have experienced significantly severe trauma.


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Bumps And Bruises - Effective Treatments Question: What kinds of treatments have been effective for your bumps and bruises?
Bruises - Frequency Question: Do you get bruises more frequently than others? Do you know why (disease, condition, medication related)?
Bruises - Slow Healing Question: Do you bruise easily and are they slow to heal? Please share your experience and concerns.
Source: MedicineNet.com
http://www.medicinenet.com/bruises/article.htm

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