Bruising is common when you’ve suffered an injury. It’s essentially broken blood vessels beneath your skin, which leads to bleeding within the tissues. This leaves a blue or purple mark, which is the bruise. However, if you’re noticing bruises and aren’t sure where they came from, it could be a sign of a blood disorder.
At Hunterdon Oncology and Hematology, our team determines if your bruises are cause for concern. Our expert team is made up of five board-certified and experienced oncologists and hematologists. Together, they provide treatment for cancer and blood disorders.
What are blood disorders?
A blood disorder occurs when something prevents your blood cells from doing their assigned jobs. These disorders vary; some cause more bleeding than normal and others cause issues with blood clotting.
Blood disorders are often genetic, meaning you inherit them from a close relative. However, they also occur due to certain medications, nutritional deficiencies, or other diseases. In most instances, people with blood disorders live normal lives while managing the condition.
There are several different types of blood disorders, which are categorized by which part of your blood is affected. Three of the main categories of blood disorders include:
1. White blood cell disorders
If you’re healthy, your body produces billions of white blood cells every day. They’re mainly produced in your bone marrow, and they help fight off infection and disease.
Leukopenia is a blood disorder characterized by extremely low levels of white blood cells. This puts you at a high risk for infection. Leukocytosis involves having too many white blood cells.
2. Red blood cell disorders
Red blood cells are vital, because they transport oxygen throughout your body. With red blood cell disorders, some part of the cell isn’t functioning properly, which can lead to decreased oxygenation in your body. Examples of these blood disorders include sickle cell anemia and thalassemia.
3. Platelet disorders
Platelets are important because they play a huge role in the clotting cascade. This basically means they form clots when you’re injured to stop bleeding. These types of blood disorders aren’t common, but they cause problems with bleeding.
Is easy bruising a cause for concern?
Most bruising shouldn’t send up a red flag that there’s a problem, especially if you remember hitting the area on something. If your bruise seems to get better after a few days and is showing signs of healing, there also isn’t much need to worry.
If you’re noticing quite a few bruises that don’t seem to add up, you shouldn’t dismiss them right away. This is especially true if the bruises are on your face, abdomen, or back. These are unusual areas to get bruised without remembering the cause.
Bruising can happen for a number of reasons, including some blood disorders. The blood disorders that cause this problem include:
Von Willebrand disease
Von Willebrand is a specific protein in your blood that’s essential for clotting. The Von Willebrand protein attaches to platelets and helps them stick to each other to stop bleeding. Without the protein, or if it’s defective, you won’t clot as quickly, which can lead to easy bruising.
Hemophilia is another blood disorder that’s caused by defective clotting in your blood. This disorder is inherited, and is caused by lower-than-normal levels of either factor VIII clotting factor or factor IX clotting factor.
This blood disorder happens when you don’t have enough platelets in your blood for clotting. If you have easy bruising that pops up more than usual, thrombocytopenia could be to blame.
When to seek treatment for bruising
Bruises that seem to pop up all over your body with no known cause should be a reason for concern. This is especially true if they don’t seem to be getting better on their own after more than a few days.
The team at Hunterdon Oncology and Hematology wants to see you if you have any of the following concerns:
- Bruising continues to come back
- No improvement in the bruising after a week
- The bruise is extremely large
- The bruises are unprovoked
- Bruises are accompanied by unexplained nosebleeds
The good news is that blood disorders can be managed through a number of therapies and treatments. Our team bases your treatment on the specific type of blood disorder you have.
For clotting disorders, the best treatment is to replace the factors that are missing in your blood. You may need infusions of factor VIII or factor IX for hemophilia, or Desmopressin Acetate for Von Willebrand disease.
If you’re worried about bruising on your body, don’t hesitate to call our office in Flemington, New Jersey at 908-788-6461, or schedule an appointment online with one of our expert doctors today.