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Easy Bruising
September 2003

Q. I am an 18-year-old female and a borderline diabetic. Lately I have been getting severe bruises all over my legs and arms. They form quickly--I'll look down and there will be another added to the collection. There is no trauma that causes them. This has never happened before. What should I do?

A. Easy bruising is a common complaint in a medical office, and while often harmless, it needs investigation. Evaluation would include a CBC (complete blood count), which clarifies whether you have the normal numbers of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets (the cells that form a clot to stop bleeding).

In addition a protime or INR blood test will tell whether those cells work properly to stop bleeding. Numerous medications such as aspirin and even some dietary supplements can cause easy bleeding so this must be investigated. The most common reason for bruising is trauma to the skin with bleeding as a result. This will usually show up as bruises on the arms or legs due to their "exposure" to trauma, so large bruises in other areas, or bleeding from the gums or the nose are unusual and need further medical evaluation.

Diabetes does not have a particular association with easy bruising, so definitely see your doctor to get this checked out.



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