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David Baxter

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Easy bruising: Common as you age

Yet another bruise. What caused that dark, unsightly mark on your leg? You don't recall bumping into anything. But lately you've been bruising much more often than you used to. Should you be concerned?

It's common to experience easy bruising with increasing age, and most bruises go away without treatment. Still, easy bruising can sometimes be a sign of a more serious problem.

Age-related causes of easy bruising in older adults
Most bruises form when small blood vessels (capillaries) near your skin's surface are broken by the impact of a blow or injury. When this happens, blood leaks out of the vessels and initially appears as a bluish-black mark. Eventually your body reabsorbs the blood, and the mark usually disappears.

Some people ? especially women ? are more prone to bruising than are others. As you get older, several factors may contribute to increased bruising, including:

  • Aging capillaries. Over time, the tissues supporting these vessels weaken, and capillary walls become more fragile and prone to rupture.
  • Thinning skin. With age, your skin becomes thinner and loses some of the protective fatty layer that helps cushion your blood vessels against injury. Excessive exposure to the sun can affect your skin much like aging does.
Generally, the harder the blow, the larger the bruise. However, if you bruise easily, a minor bump ? one you may not even notice ? can result in substantial discoloration. Your arms and legs are typical locations for bruises.
 

im_in_chains

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That's really interesting.

I acquired a bruise a couple of months ago when I was walking between the rowing maching and the treadmill at the gym. Whenever they get new machinery, they pack them all in like sardines so it's hard to negotiate safely around them. Consequently, I knocked my shin on the rear edge of the rowing machine.

I complained and they've widened the gap between the machines ;)

I've still got a black mark on my shin although it doesn't hurt at all.

Just above that, a matter of days after I hurt myself at the gym, I got a heat bump and oh they're so itchy. Well, I scratched too much rather than apply some soothing cream. Although the scab from the scratching healed, I've got a black mark there.

So my left shin has two black marks now! I wear trousers most of the time so my legs have very limited exposure to the sun. I assumed the sun, while on holiday (I wore a bikini) would have helped a little, but no, it made no difference.

Any other bruises I've had just disappear in a short time.
 

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