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How are purple bruises caused and treated ?

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Internal Medicine Specialist
Practicing since : 1998
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I am 60 years old , female, in very good shape, 5'6, 160 lbs. I do not take blood thinners , just wellbutrin . I woke up the other day with a huge big purple bruise on my elbow, this has happened to me before. I have no pain there, I went to a clinic and the doctor is sending me to have an ultrasound done on my arm, what could it be?? Thank you.
Posted Sat, 14 Apr 2012 in TMJ
Answered by Dr. Jasvinder Singh 14 minutes later

Thanks for posting your query. A bruise happens because of trauma when blood from the ruptured capillaries (small blood vessels) near the skin's surface escapes by leaking out under the skin.
Based on your symptoms, a few possibilities need to be ruled out which can cause a sudden bruise without any trauma.

These include:

1)     Anemia and deficiency of vitamins C, K, B12, or folic acid
2)     Bleeding and clotting defects
3)     Liver disease
4)     Any malignancy including Hodgkin's disease and leukemia

Please note that anemia and pancytopenia (reduction in the number of red and white blood cells, as well as platelets) are side effects of taking Wellbutrin. So the dose should be monitored.

I sincerely advise you to consult a hematologist and get your coagulation profile and liver function tests investigated. You also need a complete blood count and platelet count and levels of vitamin C, K B12 and folic acid. Bone marrow aspiration and biopsy may also be needed to rule out any leukemia but is done as a last investigation if all causes are ruled out.

Till then eat a healthy diet and take iron supplements for some days.

Hope this answers your query. If you have additional questions or follow up queries then please do not hesitate in writing to us. I will be happy to answer your queries.

Wishing you good health.

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