Bleeding or Clotting Disorders That Cause Bruising
When you cut or injure yourself, your body uses special blood cells,
called platelets, and other chemicals, called clotting factors, to form a blood
clot and control your bleeding. Bleeding disorders sometimes occur when the
platelets or clotting factors are not working properly and do not form clots.
Bleeding or clotting disorders include:
Disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC), a condition that comes on quickly. Small blood clots
form and move through the bloodstream, blocking small blood vessels and using
up the clotting factors that are needed to stop bleeding. Emergency treatment
is needed to stop bleeding and save the person's life.
Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP, also known as
primary or autoimmune thrombocytopenic purpura), a disorder in which a low
platelet count causes abnormal bleeding. The cause of ITP in adults is not
known. In children, ITP may be an
autoimmune disease that is triggered by a viral
infection. Symptoms include red spots on the skin, unexplained bruises,
bleeding from the gums and nose, and blood in the stool. The condition may
appear suddenly or gradually.
Thrombocytopenic purpura, a rare disorder in which small blood clots form throughout the
body, leading to a sharp drop in the number of platelets and
red blood cells. Symptoms develop suddenly and include
fever, bruising, belly pain, blood in the urine, and an irregular
heartbeat. A person who has symptoms of thrombocytopenic purpura needs
Hemolytic uremic syndrome, a serious and often fatal disorder in which the number of
platelets suddenly drops, red blood cells are destroyed, and the
kidneys stop working. The cause is not known, but the
syndrome may be triggered by a bacterial infection or medicine
Henoch-Schonlein purpura, also known as
allergic purpura, an inflammatory disease of the small blood vessels
that most often affects children. The cause is not known, but it may be the
result of an autoimmune disease or a severe
allergic reaction. Symptoms may include sudden
headache, fever, loss of appetite, abdominal cramping, joint pain, and
bruising. Abnormal bruising is most often seen in the lower legs.
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
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