Senile Purpura: Bruising In The Elderly…

The terminology “Senile Purpura” is a bit offensive to some but it is maintained by tradition.  Patient’s that have it are not necessarily senile.  It is very, very common.  Essentially it is bruising in the elderly.

Purpura in the elderly is caused by many factors, but the major issues that promote this are:

  1.  Sun damage and aging results in damage to dermal tissues and friable blood vessels that rupture easily
  2.  With aging there is a steady loss of subcutaneous fat in the extensor surfaces of the arms which is great protection against blunt force trauma
  3.  With aging there is a deterioration of the neurologic system which results in more banging about, more trauma

MEDICATIONS:  And now we add medications.  Many elderly patients are on blood thinners which help decrease the incidence of life threatening events, such as strokes and heart attacks.  Aspirin, Warfarin, Plavix, etc are certainly going to promote bruising.

TREATMENTS:  Are mainly supportive.  We are not going to discontinue medications that can prolong a patient’s life over bruising.  There are some over the counter creams that can help such as DermMend which contains things like Vitamin K and Arnica that can help the bruising resolve quicker.  To learn more about Senile Purpura click HERE.