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WHAT IS BRUISING?

A bruise is a red, blue or a black mark formed on the skin as a result of blunt injury. It is also termed as contusion. A direct blow or trauma to a particular area of the body leads to damage of the tiny blood capillaries underneath the skin. Collection of blood beneath the skin results in discoloration, which is called bruise or contusion.

WHAT CAUSES BRUISING?

Bruises are caused due to trauma to soft tissue. This can be seen in anyone irrespective of age. Bruises can occur in simple muscle sprains. Typically, it is seen more commonly in people who exercise vigorously. In weight lifters and athletes, there is possibility of small capillary tears that lead to bruises. Bruises can also appear in people suffering from bleeding disorders like bleeding gums, nose bleeding seen in thrombocytopenia, von willie brand disease, hemophilia, Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, disseminated intravascular coagulation and Factor II, V, VII, X deficiencies.

Whiplash injury or concussion is a brain injury that occurs due to direct impact to the brain. It results in brain contusion. Certain leukemias also cause easy bruising. Varicose veins are veins that become dilated and can be present with bruises over the skin. Other medical conditions that cause bruises are Cushing disease, chronic kidney disease, celiac disease, Gaucher’s disease, osteogenesis imperfecta (brittle bones), German measles etc. Few medicines that are used as blood thinners (warfarin) and aspirin can also cause contusions. As age progresses, the skin becomes thin and so bruises occur more frequently in elderly people.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF BRUISING?

Discoloration of the skin is the sign that is noticed first. Color may vary depending on the duration of the injury. Initially bruise appears as red which indicates a fresh trauma. Later, it turns into blue or purple within a day. As the contusion heals, it becomes greenish or yellowish within 4 or 5 days depending on the severity of the impact. Bruise can be painful and tender to touch. It is accompanied by swelling over the injured area. Internal bruise may be present along with blood in urine and stools. Blunt trauma to the eye presents itself with bruise or blackened eye with pain, swelling and sometimes bleeding from the eyes.

If you have suffered a bruise and despite the first aid, it doesn’t subside, speak to a GP online and get the correct advice.

HOW TO TREAT A BRUISE?

Bruises can be treated by applying ice packs over the affected area. This should be done multiple times in a day for about 15 minutes each time. This helps in constriction of blood vessels and reduces bleeding from the damaged vessels. Pain and swelling associated with bruise can be treated with OTC pills. It is always to better avoid bruises before occurring by taking safety precautions while playing, doing exercising, driving etc. This can be done by using some protective guards, pads, helmets, putting seat belts etc. Medical conditions that cause bruises should seek medical attention immediately and relevant treatment should be given.

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