Within hours, a minor bump on your hip caused a startling black and blue relief map to bloom. A tiny tap on your shin has turned a deep shade of purple before the sun has set.
And honestly, you don’t even remember hitting your arm. But you’ve got a bruise the size of Texas to prove you did.
Top 5 reasons you bruise more often as you age
It’s not your imagination. You do indeed bruise easier than you did in your younger days. Keep reading to find out why and what you can do about it.
1. You’re losing fatty tissue.
When you were younger, you had a layer of fatty tissue between your skin and your capillaries that protected you against bruising. But as we age that fatty tissue tends to get thinner. Without the added cushioning, the slightest bump is more like a direct blow.
Make sure you’re getting enough healthy fats in your diet. And don’t worry about losing those last few pounds unless your doctor says you need to. Studies show older folks with a little extra fluff actually live LONGER anyway.
2. Blood vessels are losing their elasticity.
When we reach a certain age, things just don’t bounce back quite as effectively as they once did. That includes our blood vessels. And it’s especially true for the smaller capillaries that sit just beneath your skin.
But that faster recovery time was what helped to prevent bruising. So now that things are a bit less elastic you tend to bruise more easily and dramatically than ever before.
Making sure you get enough collagen in your diet could help. Collagen supports healthy skin and elastic blood vessels which can head off bruises before they get started. Try bone broth or a good collagen supplement to help get some of your bounce back.
3. Your medicine cabinet is to blame.
Are you taking blood thinners? Or what about frequent doses of NSAID pain relievers such as aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen? Because those are just two of the medications that can cause you to bruise more easily.
Ask your doctor if bruising is a side effect of any of the meds you’re taking. And if the bruising becomes serious ask him about alternatives.
4. Supplements have thinned your blood.
Just like medications, certain supplements can cause our blood to become thinner. In fact, their benefits are often tied to that blood thinning effect. But that also means they make us more prone to bruising.
Fish oil and ginkgo, for example, can have this effect. If you don’t have any bleeding issues and aren’t on medications that thin your blood too, then living with this supplement side effect may be worth it.
5. You need more vitamin C.
You don’t have to be deficient in vitamin C for it to contribute to bruising. Just being a little low in this essential vitamin is enough to lead to more of those black and blue marks for some folks. And studies have hinted that older folks may require more C as they age. Plus research shows you may not absorb the vitamin as efficiently as you once did.
Your body requires vitamin C to heal properly. Without enough of this vital vitamin on board that minor bump may not heal quickly and instead turns into a serious bruise.
Load up on red and yellow bell peppers, leafy greens, citrus fruit and berries to boost your C levels.
If you’re bruising is severe and no matter what precautions you’re taking you are still ending up purple it might be time to talk to your doctor. While rare, bruising can signal a larger health problem, like liver disease or leukemia. There’s no need to panic, of course, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.