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WELLNESS SPOTLIGHT: Bruising in seniors can be cause for concern

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Sometimes seniors look down at their arms or legs and notice bruises but can’t recall the causes. It is well known that the harder a person bumps into something, the larger the bruise is.

For some people, though, even minor bumps can cause large bruises with severe discoloration.

Although bruises usually heal without treatment, there are times when it should cause concern.

According to the Mayo Clinic, there are a few reasons bruising becomes more frequent.

With age, tissues that support people’s blood vessels weaken and the capillary walls become fragile.

They become prone to rupture and, when they do, bruising occurs.

Another cause is thin skin caused by age. The skin loses some of the fatty layer that protects and cushions the blood vessels from injury.

Blood thinners, such as aspirin and warfarin, and dietary supplements, such as fish oils and gingko, can reduce the blood’s ability to clot.

This means bleeding that would typically stop quickly may take longer to stop, allowing for bruising.

Just because this is happening doesn’t mean the medications should be stopped; it means a conversation with a doctor.

Although bruising is typically normal, there are times when it can indicate something more serious such as a blood clotting problem or a blood disease.

The Mayo Clinic recommends seeing a doctor if bruises are large and painful; if they develop for no reason; if bruising is frequent and there is abnormal bleeding elsewhere, such as from the nose, gums or intestinal tract; or if there is no history of bruising but then bruising starts occurring, especially after starting a new medicine.

To diagnose the cause of serious bruising your doctor may check your blood platelet levels or measure your blood’s ability to coagulate.

It is important to notice the signs of abnormal bruising mentioned in this article to know when you need to see a doctor.

Marie E. Littrell is the Administrator of Park View Meadows, assisted living by Americare, in Murfreesboro.

She can be reached at 615.907.5800 or murf@americareusa.net.

Tagged under  americare, assisted living, bruise, care, health, marie littrell, meadows, park view, seniors

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