Symptom Checker: Symptoms & Signs Index
Medical Author: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
A bruise is a traumatic injury of the soft tissues that results in breakage of the local capillaries and leakage of red blood cells. In the skin, bruising can be seen as a reddish-purple discoloration that does not blanch when pressed upon. A bruise can sometimes be associated with a temporary raised area in the skin. When a bruise fades, it becomes green and brown as the body metabolizes the blood cells and bilirubin pigment in the skin. A bruise is best treated with local application of a cold pack immediately after injury.
A bruise is medically termed a contusion. Bruises are typically a result of some degree of injury to the blood vessels in the skin. Easy bruising may be a result of a seemingly insignificant compression of skin or there may be no skin injury recollected. Easy bruising can occur when the blood vessels are weakened by diseases (such as scurvy), medications (such as aspirin, prednisone and prednisolone), and aging. Easy bruising can also occur because of absent or deficient blood-clotting elements. Local leakage of blood into the skin from the capillaries that occurs spontaneously, without injury, and results in a flat, purplish discolored area is referred to as ecchymosis.
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Fauci, Anthony S., et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 17th ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Professional, 2008.
Main Article on Easy Bruising
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Other Causes of Easy Bruising
- Aging Skin
- Bone Marrow Disorders
- Liver Disease
- Platelet Disorders (Thrombocytopenias)
- Medications (both Prescription and Non-prescription, especially aspirin, NSAIDs, prednisone)
- Von Willebrand's Disease
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