Bruising and Bleeding Tendencies

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Bruising and Bleeding Tendencies

What it feels like: being quick to bruise after minor injury, sponta-neous bleeding, or bleeding for long periods oftime after a cut.

All bleeding disorders are characterized by a tendency to bruiseeasily.

Your Doctor Visit

What your doctor will ask you about: fever, chills, headache,swollen lymph nodes, joint swelling, dark or bloody urine, black andtar-like bowel movements, jaundice (skin taking on a yellowishappearance), skin rashes, infections.

Your doctor will want to know if you or anyone in your familyhas had any of these conditions: liver disease, valvular heart dis-ease, hemophilia, systemic lupus erythematosus, tendency towardeasy bruising or excess bleeding at the time of birth or later, particu-larly during surgeries or dental work.

Your doctor will want to know if you’re taking any medications,including: steroids, diuretics (“water pills”), warfarin (Coumadin).

Your doctor will do a physical examination including the fol-lowing:  temperature, listening to your heart with a stethoscope,pushing on your abdomen, checking joints for swelling, thoroughskin exam, checking lymph nodes to see if they are enlarged.

If you are going to have elective or nonelective surgery, be sure to tellyour surgeon about your bruising or bleeding tendency.

WHAT CAN CAUSE A TENDENCY TO BRUISE OR BLEED EXCESSIVELY, AND WHAT IS TYPICAL FOR EACH CAUSE?

Cause :  Lack or poor  function of substances in the blood that enable it to clot
Examples:  Hereditary disease   (hemophilia), medication use (warfarin and other  anticoagulants), liver  disease
Typcal Symptoms :  Large superficial bruises,  spontaneous bleeding

Cause :  Lack or poor  function of  blood particles  called platelets, or fragile blood  vessels
Examples:  Medication use (diuretics and steroids), leukemia,   diseases of the blood   vessels, infections   (bacterial infections of  the heart, Rocky Mountain spotted fever)
Typcal Symptoms :  Small, superficial bruises, prolonged bleeding, spotsized bleeding into the skin

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