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Causes of Senile Purpura - Information and Symptoms of Senile Bleeding or Bruises

An extreme case of senile purpura.

An extreme case of senile purpura.

Senile purpura are purple spots under the skin. The purple spots are a result of bleeding under the skin. When the spots are tiny, doctors often refer to them as petechiae, but when they grow larger, they are referred to as ecchymoses.

In older adults, this type of bleeding is called senile purpura. It is very common for seniors to get large, purple spots under the skin. Due to their delicate body structure, they easily bruise, which causes internal bleeding. Usually, these spots are no real cause for concern as they are completely normal. It is only in severe cases, such as the picture on the right, that doctors might want to treat the patient.


There are many possible causes for senile purpura, including:

  • blood clotting disorders
  • fragile blood vessels
  • vasculitis (blood vessel inflammation)
  • aging
  • thin, fragile skin
  • loss of muscle, which causes more bruising
  • overuse of blood thinner mediciation


  • Dark purple spots, or patches, in various areas of the body. The most common areas are the back of the hands, legs, forearms and the back of the arms. It is possible for them to appear anywhere.
  • Fading purple or brown blotches that may not completely disappear.
  • Tenderness.

Treatment options

Most doctors do not find senile purpura a cause for concern, so they do not provide treatment options to individuals suffering from it. If you feel there is something abnormal about your purpura, ask your doctor if there is anything you can do.

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If you feel pain from the condition, doctors usually recommend taking aspirin or a similar pain reliever. It is normal to feel slight tenderness, so strenuous physical activity is not recommended as it can aggravate the condition or cause additional bruising.

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