Easy bruising is common as we age. There are a few reasons for elderly bruising. As we grow old, our skin gets thinner as it loses a layer of fat that helps protect capillaries. Capillaries are small blood vessels that are located at the edge of our body tissues.
The walls of these capillaries become weak and delicate with time. As a result, when we bump into things or fall, these tiny blood vessels break and leak blood under the skin, which results in a bruise. The blood from the ruptured capillaries disappears as it gradually gets reabsorbed by the body.
Preventing formation of elderly bruises
There are certain medications available that can help heal and prevent elderly bruising. Aspirin and other anti-coagulating and blood-thinning agents reduce blood clotting. If you are on some antibiotics, discuss with your doctor if you can reduce its dosage as it is associated with clotting problems. These antibiotics prolong the damage caused by a bleeding capillary, thereby allowing enough blood to leak and cause a bigger bruise.
- Topical and systemic medications such as corticosteroids can be used if you are suffering from a skin condition such as allergies, asthma, and eczema that makes the skin thinner and easier to bruise.
- Other than medications, there are dietary supplements and natural food products that can be used to treat and prevent bruising. Gingko Biloba and fish oil are known for their blood-thinning effects and can be consumed under the guidance of your doctor.
- Arnica oil can be used to prevent frequent bruising. It has anti-inflammatory properties that stimulate the flow of white blood cells. This helps in dispersing trapped fluid in your tissues, muscles, and joints, thereby preventing easy bruising.
- Vitamin C plays an important role in wound healing. It promotes the production of collagen, which is an important structural component of the skin. Lack of collagen makes it easy for the blood vessels to rupture, which results in easy bruising.
- Apart from these, you need to be careful of your surroundings and make sure you are not living in clutter. Remove unnecessary furniture and other obstacles to create a clear path in your personal space, as it will potentially avoid bumps and falls.
- Discuss with your healthcare provider if you can use a walker or a cane if you feel unstable while walking or when trying to sit or stand up.
- Installing handrails wherever possible will provide additional support and reduce your chances of getting bruised by falling due to imbalance.
Don’t stop taking your medications if you are experiencing increased bruising. Make sure that your doctor or healthcare provider is aware of the supplements you are taking to treat and prevent bruising. Your doctor might also check for the blood platelet count and perform tests to know if there is an underlying cause of easy bruising. The doctor can provide you with treatment and prevention options accordingly. Seek immediate medical intervention if the bruise is taking a long time to heal as it might be an indication of an underlying blood disorder.