Elderly skin bruising: What may be going on
For caregivers, determining the difference between “normal aging” and “make an appointment with a doctor” can be difficult, and they are often unsure of how to navigate this gray area. Here is some advice on what to look for and how to manage bruising on aging skin.
What skin bruising is
Bruising occurs when small blood vessels under the skin burst, filling small pockets of skin with dark blood. Bruising is uncomfortable for most people and serves as a reminder to be more careful next time, but it can be extremely painful and last for weeks for seniors whose bodies heal more slowly.
Why people bruise more with age
According to the Mayo Clinic, as people age, their skin thins and loses some of their fatty layer, which cushions blood vessels and allows them to absorb impact rather than burst.
Bruises that don’t come from impact
Seniors may also get bruises that aren’t caused by impact, such as actinic purpura, which occurs when blood vessels burst due to years of sun exposure. These bruises aren’t usually a cause for concern, but they should be checked out by a doctor just in case.
Bruises from vitamin deficiencies
Vitamin deficiencies are another cause of bruises; some experts believe that vitamins C and D are essential for good skin health and preventing bruises.
When to involve a doctor
Seniors should be evaluated for health and safety hazards in their home to avoid falling or tripping. Some medications, such as aspirin and blood thinners, can make bruising worse. Not remembering how an injury occurred could be a sign of memory issues. Seniors should also be evaluated for health and safety hazards in their home to avoid falling or tripping.
Large bruise dangers
Extremely large bruises or areas of swelling should be examined immediately because they could be signs of internal bleeding or damage and should be seen by a doctor. Even if there is no serious internal issue, persistent bruising and tenderness should be examined.
Abuse or neglect?
If you’re concerned, see your doctor or report the suspected abuse or neglect to the appropriate authorities.
Experts say that bruising hands and arms is common as you get older.
How do you get rid of old age bruises?
Apply cold compresses and keep the area elevated if the skin is injured, then apply warm compresses to increase circulation and speed up the healing of the bruise. Over-the-counter medications, such as Vitamin K creams, may help bruises fade away faster.
How long does bad bruising take to go away?
Bruises usually fade away in about two weeks, during which time the bruise changes color as the body breaks down and reabsorbs the blood.
Do bruises take longer to heal as you age?
Apply moisturizers to the skin to relieve dryness and allow the skin to stretch more easily. There isn’t much that can be done to treat a bruise once it has formed, though most bruises fade away over time as the body reabsorbs the blood. Healing may take longer as people get older.
What Vitamin Am I lacking if I bruise easily?
Vitamin C deficiency This important vitamin aids in the production of collagen, an important protein that helps keep your blood vessels healthy; if you don’t get enough vitamin C in your diet, you may bruise easily.
When should I worry about a bruise in the elderly?
Extremely large bruises or areas of swelling should be treated with extreme caution because they may indicate internal bleeding or damage and should be seen by a doctor as soon as possible u2013 even if a trip to the emergency room is required.
Does massaging a bruise help?
Instead of massaging or rubbing the injury to break more blood vessels, wait for the pain and swelling to subside and apply ice as needed.
Why does it take so long for my bruises to go away?
This is because the sun weakens your skin and the tiny blood vessels beneath it over time. These bruises, on the other hand, aren’t caused by bumping into something, they don’t usually feel tender when touched, and they take longer to heal.
How do you treat a deep bruise?
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- If possible, rest the bruised area.
- Ice the bruise with an ice pack wrapped in a towel and leave it in place for 10 to 20 minutes. Repeat several times a day for a day or two as needed.
- Compress the bruised area if it is swelling, using an elastic bandage that isn’t too tight.
Why do my bruises never go away?
Heterotopic ossification, which occurs when your body builds up calcium deposits around the site of your injury and makes your bruise tender and firm to the touch, is a less common cause of a bruise that won’t go away. It’s something your doctor can diagnose with an X-ray.
At what age are you considered elderly?
According to the Social Security Administration, 9 out of 10 people over the age of 65 are eligible for Social Security benefits, and 65 is the legal age at which U.S. citizens are considered seniors.
What supplements should I take if I bruise easily?
Vitamin C supplements have been shown to reduce bruising in people with low vitamin C intake, and doctors often recommend supplementing with 100 mg to 3 grams of vitamin C per day for several months to people who have easy bruising.
Does low vitamin D cause bruising?
If your cuts or bruises take a long time to heal, it could be a sign that you’re deficient in vitamin D.
What does it mean if bruises suddenly appear on your legs?
Injury, age, an underlying health condition, or even things like medication can cause unexplained bruising on the legs in both adults and children. For example, in adults, bruising can occur more easily as we age due to thinning of the skin.