Old age involves series of changes that occur inside our bodies and on them. They are natural, but sometimes we may not know why something is happening and what is the cause of it. You may have noticed that some older adults bruise very easily even from some minor injuries, but you do not know the cause of that bruising and whether it is harmful to them.
What is the cause of elderly bruising?
Bruises usually form when our skin suffers from an injury caused by a stronger blow that leads to the rupture of small blood vessels or the capillaries that are near to the surface of the skin. The blood that in such cases leak out of the vessels forms these well-known marks that slowly fade as the body reabsorbs the blood.
However, as we get old, our body gets weaker, and it loses its ability to recover quickly. The same is with our skin. As the time passes, the cells of our skin begin to divide slowlier than before. Our skin retains less moisture and becomes dry, wrinkled and less elastic. It loses its ability to recover quickly and becomes thinner leaving, therefore, blood vessels more exposed to the injuries. Furthermore, aging causes the blood vessels to become fragile, and the tissues that support the capillaries weaken leaving them more vulnerable to ruptures, and it becomes more common for seniors to bruise.
It is known that the sun is essential for absorbing calcium and keeping our bones healthy and strong. However, excessive exposure to the sun may have negative effects on our skin which usually become evident only after we get old. Years of such exposure to the sun damage the skin and weaken the walls of blood vessels causing them to break easier.
Bruises may also appear as the result of trauma or the use of some medications such as drugs which interfere with blood clotting, including aspirin. They may also form after the use of alcohol which is known to thin the blood, or some dietary supplements such as fish oil, ginkgo, ginger, garlic that have the effect upon blood similar to that of alcohol which leads to the increased bruising.
How can bruising be treated and prevented?
There are no special treatments for bruising and bruises should be allowed to disappear on their own as the result of the course of natural reabsorption of blood by our bodies. A cold compress may help in reducing the swelling caused by bruising as the warm compress can speed the blood reabsorbing. There are also many cosmetic products such as tretinoin creams and various lotions that can increase the thickness of the skin and protect blood vessels from ruptures. The damages of the skin and blood vessels can also be prevented by avoiding the excessive exposure to the sun, especially during the peak hours of the day and by wearing of various protective clothes in the sun such as shirts with long sleeves, by the use of the sunscreen, etc.