People with senile purpura bruise exceptionally easily, often without any seeming reason, generally on the forearms and tops of the hands. The resulting dark purplish-red splotches fade gradually, often leaving a yellow or brown stain, which may disappear completely or remain indefinitely. While there is no treatment per se, knowing why you may bruise easily can help you assess if you should consult your doctor about a possible underlying health condition.
Causes and Symptoms
Senile purpura occurs when the connective tissues that hold blood vessels under the skin weaken due to aging or, in some cases, extreme UV radiation damage from too much sun exposure. The result is extreme susceptibility to bruising, oftentimes without apparent cause or reason. It is normally seen in elderly patients, as their skin is naturally thinner and the connective tissues weaker. Senile purpura can also be caused by the overuse of blood thinners, such as aspirin, and steroids, and can be exacerbated by various other conditions, including some types of diabetes and vascular diseases. Your physician should also rule out thrombocytopenia (lack of platelets), scurvy and connective tissue diseases.
The bruising presents itself generally on the forearms and top of the hands, often without any seeming trauma having occurred. The resulting bruises are dark and usually fade away over the course of several days, but often leave behind a discoloration of the skin due to iron remaining at the trauma site. These marks may fade over time or may be permanent.
Treatment and Prevention
Senile purpura is generally considered harmless, and is not treatable unless it is the result of taking blood thinners or is a warning sign of another health concern. While the bruises themselves can be unsightly, they are not dangerous. If it is the result of drug use or misuse, ceasing use of the drug that cause the condition may help.
As senile purpura is most often caused simply by the effects of aging, prevention can be extremely difficult, if not impossible. Curbing sun exposure throughout your life can help, as can being sure you don't overuse or misuse aspirin and steroids.