Hemophilia, von Willebrand disease, anemia, leukemias, or a low platelet count can cause bruising. A person should contact a doctor if they are concerned about their bruising.

Bruising is one of the body’s common reactions after injury. However, it can also be a warning sign of more advanced medical conditions.

Bruising that occurs easily, frequently, or takes a long time to heal may be a symptom of a blood disorder, such as hemophilia.

Cells, platelets, and plasma are different components of blood involved in almost every bodily function, including healing. When healing becomes impaired due to a blood disorder, unusual bruising may follow.

This article looks at which blood disorders may cause bruising. It also discusses other underlying causes of unusual bruising and answers frequently asked questions about the condition.

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Blood disorders are conditions affecting one or more components of the blood. They interfere with typical bodily processes by altering the component’s volume, structure, or function.

Many different types of blood disorders exist. They are generally classified by the part of the blood they affect.

Examples of platelet blood disorders include:

Examples of white blood disorders include:

Examples of blood disorders that primarily affect red blood cells include:

A bruise occurs when small blood vessels rupture while the skin is fully intact, causing blood to leak into surrounding tissues. It is also known as a contusion.

As the hemoglobin in the blood comes into contact with oxygen outside of the vessel, it changes color. This generates the brown, purple, and red hues of a bruise.

During the typical healing response, the body uses blood to deliver platelets, white blood cells, and other clotting agents to an injured area. These substances initiate the process of repairing and sealing off damaged vessels.

Certain blood disorders can affect components in the blood necessary for healing. This can lead to prolonged bleeding beneath the skin surface. Bruising may appear easily, affect large areas, and heal slowly.

Blood disorders commonly associated with abnormal bruising include:

  • Hemophilia: This is a genetic disorder that causes deficiencies in clotting factor VIII (hemophilia A) or clotting factor IX (hemophilia B).
  • Von Willebrand disease: This condition is characterized by a deficiency in von Willebrand factor, a protein necessary for clotting.
  • Rare clotting factor deficiencies: These are deficiencies in clotting factors other than those seen in hemophilia A and B.
  • Platelet function disorders: These conditions impair how platelets function. They include disorders such as Bernard-Soulier syndrome, gray platelet syndrome, and Glanzmann thrombasthenia.
  • Leukemias: These are cancers originating in the bone marrow, which can disrupt the production of platelets or clotting factors.
  • Thrombocytopenia: This refers to a decrease in the number of platelets due to any underlying condition.

Bruising easily does not always indicate a blood disorder. Other potential causes include:


Skin naturally becomes more fragile with age, a phenomenon known as dermatoporosis. It is characterized by thinning skin combined with the loss of connective tissue and supportive fat. This can make blood vessels more vulnerable to rupturing.

Sun exposure

Actinic purpura is a type of bruising that occurs as a result of chronic sun exposure. It is also called senile purpura.

Purpura is most commonly seen on aging skin. It develops when connective tissue becomes weakened from prolonged exposure to ultraviolet radiation.


Certain medications can affect how blood components function. For example, anticoagulants are blood-thinning medications used to treat heart conditions. They prevent blood from clotting and help reduce the risk of major cardiac events, such as a heart attack.

Other medications that may affect bruising include:

  • corticosteroids
  • blood pressure medications
  • nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • herbal supplements, such as ginkgo biloba

Vitamin and mineral deficiencies

Vitamin and mineral deficiencies may be linked to an increased risk of bruising. This is because micronutrients play a role in functions such as blood clotting, blood vessel integrity, and the health of connective tissues.

Deficiencies that may be associated with easy bruising include:

Underlying medical conditions

Certain medical conditions can compromise the integrity of blood vessels or the body’s ability to heal. This can result in easy bruising.

Examples include:


Research indicates that smoking can impair the healing process and contribute to the fragility of blood vessels. This may lead to easy bruising.

Most bruises resolve without treatment after approximately 2 weeks. However, medical care may be necessary for bruises that:

  • are accompanied by significant swelling
  • are extremely painful
  • occur while on blood thinners or other medications
  • increase in size
  • develop after minor bumps
  • affect an area disproportionate to the injury
  • appear without a known cause
  • occur alongside other concerning symptoms, such nose bleeds, fatigue, or lightheadedness

Here are answers to questions people frequently ask about bruising.

Is there an autoimmune disease that causes bruising?

Lupus is an autoimmune disease that can lead to bruising. It causes inflammation in the blood vessels and thrombocytopenia, or low platelets in the blood.

What deficiency causes easy bruising?

Several nutrient deficiencies can cause easy bruising, including:

  • vitamin K
  • vitamin B
  • vitamin E
  • vitamin D
  • zinc
  • copper

Certain blood disorders can lead to bruising. They do this by altering the function, structure, or volume of blood components associated with blood clotting.

Abnormal bruising can also be caused by a variety of conditions that affect healing or the integrity of blood vessels.

A person can visit the following organizations to learn more about blood disorders and bruising:

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