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General Medical Questions
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Question : I bruise easily. Most of the time I don't recall bumping into anything. What causes this? Should I be worried?
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The Trusted Source
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Howard LeWine, M.D.

Mary Pickett, M.D. is an Associate professor at Oregon Health & Science University where she is a primary care doctor for adults. She supervises and educates residents in the field of Internal Medicine, for outpatient and hospital care. She is a Lecturer for Harvard Medical School and a Senior Medical Editor for Harvard Health Publications.

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February 21, 2011
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A:

Bruising is expected after even minor trauma. Most people who have bruising do not have a medical problem. In some cases, tossing and turning in sleep is the cause of unexplained bruising! People who have thin skin (for example, elderly people) bruise more easily.

Bruising can be the result of a low platelet count. Platelets are the type of cells in the blood that help you form blood clots after injury. In some cases, a medical condition prevents the platelets from functioning properly, even if the number of platelets is normal.

Bruising problems are frequently caused by a reaction to medications. Examples include:

  • Aspirin
  • Ibuprofen or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Prednisone
  • Certain antibiotics

Liver or kidney disease can also cause bruising.

If you have a large amount of bruising, talk to your doctor. He or she may suggest a blood test to check for low platelets and/or certain proteins required for normal clotting.

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