Sunday, May 1, 2011

Blood Spots Under the Skin

There are two forms of blood spots under the skin. One is purpura which can be described as red or purple discolorations on the skin and its size may vary in between 0.3 - 1 cm. This is caused due to bleeding under the skin but is not due to any damage to the blood vessels. The other one is petechiae which are tiny flat spots that are red or purple in color and are less than 2 mm in size. It is caused due to hemorrhage of blood vessels. As a result, the blood leaks out and gets into the tissue below the skin.

Some Facts About Blood Spots Under the Skin

Blood spots under the skin can develop in any part of the body. Elderly people gets red blood spots under the skin in the areas like forearms, hands, legs and feet. Women often get on the thighs, arms and buttocks. Some people are prone to bruises and blood spots under the skin. Women get blood spots under the skin more easily than men. That does not mean that they are suffering from any major health problems. If there is a bruise on the leg, it often takes longer time for the blood spots to disappear as compared to those on the upper part of the body like arms or face. It has been found that these blood spots tend to spread towards the lower part from the upper part of the body because of the gravity.

What Causes Blood Spots Under the Skin?

Spots of blood under the skin often appear all of a sudden. Following are the common causes responsible for bleeding under the skin:

Health problems that affect blood clotting, like hemophilia, thrombocytopenia, certain forms of cancer like leukemia or multiple myeloma, lupus, cirrhosis or any other kinds of blood disorders.
Any kind of infection that leads to accumulation of toxic substances in the blood or tissue.
Swelling in the blood vessels or vasculitis.
In some people, blood spots under the skin occur due to hereditary reasons.
With aging, the fat layers under the skin becomes thin. As a result, the padding effect of the skin deteriorates. Therefore, even a minor injury on the skin can lead to the breakage of the blood vessels.
Medicines like aspirin and anticoagulants that causes thinning of blood.
Malnutrition caused by vitamin deficiency of vitamin B12 or C or K or folic acid.

Treatment for Blood Spots Under the Skin

In most cases, blood spots under the skin get cured on its own and does not require any treatment. However, if some home treatments are done then it can speed up the healing process. Like any other injury, rest is very important to get rid of blood spots under the skin. If there is pain and swelling in the area then application of ice pack can control them. Do not apply ice on them for more than 15 minutes at a time. After that, take a break of few hours and then reapply. Try to keep the injury site in elevated condition, above the level of heart, in order to bring down swelling. For the first 3 days of the injury avoid heat compression of hot bath as heat promote swelling. Later, you can apply heat and cold compression alternatively and it has been proved to be beneficial. A gentle massage of the affected area also improves blood circulation. However, if rubbing of the area gives pain avoid massaging.

In case the blood spots under the skin develop within an hour of the injury, and is accompanied by excessive swelling and pain, it could be due to a sprain or a fracture, and it requires immediate medical attention. When you have got blood spots under the skin, then you should stop drinking alcohol and the use of tobacco products. Alcohol can increase the swelling of the bruised spot and smoking delays the repair work of the damaged tissue by restricting the blood supply to that region.

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