The Truth About Rheumatoid Arthritis Bruising
Have you ever heard the saying, “I bruise like a peach?” Chances are, if you have RA and are reading this article, you’re already deeply familiar with the saying and live it every day.
I’ve always had at least one bruise on my body at one time or another, often seeming to appear out of totally thin air. It can be frustrating, but this is all part of the RA territory.
Before I was diagnosed, I did worry that I had something more sinister, like leukemia (probably thanks to reading far too many Lurlene McDaniel books as a preteen), but now that I understand that someone touching me can cause bruising, I’m a bit more okay with it.
So why do RA patients sport as many bruises as a prize-fighter? There are a few explanations for this. Mostly, easy bruising is caused by a lowered platelet count, meaning that it is making it difficult for the body to allow the blood to clot.
This is an issue that can be caused simply by RA itself as the condition can lower your platelet count, as well as causing other skin problems.
Additionally, medication used to treat RA can lower the platelet count, ensuring that you bruise super easily. These medications include non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) such as Advil, Aspirin, Paracetemol, Ibuprofen or Tylenol. Other medications that cause lower platelet counts include Plaquenil, antibiotics and most medicines used to treat arthritis.
What Is a Bruise?
A bruise is a discoloration in the skin caused by a blow (or in some cases, a light tap) to the area.
People with RA also often have thinner skin tissue than their healthy counterparts, making it a lot easier for the “blow” to touch the veins and capillaries. Red blood cells leak through the veins and capillaries, which causes the bruise to form, as well as making the area pretty tender.
A bruise is medically referred to as a contusion and typically is not a cause for concern, even though they do look pretty unsightly – especially if you’re getting them often on areas that are often exposed, like your arms and legs during the summer. This can, of course, prompt concerned questions and curious remarks.
How to Cover a Bruise in Minutes
If you’ve got bruises on your arms and/or legs and you’ve got a special event to attend, you can cover your bruise with foundation. However, you need to make sure your foundation has both pink and yellow undertones, like the skin on most people’s arms and legs.
Just dab some of the foundation onto your skin with a makeup brush or your fingers. You can add some highly pigmented concealer on top if the bruise is especially bad. If it is flat against your skin, dust it off with some loose mineral powder to set it and ensure that it stays put all day.
If you’d like to use a color corrector, you can grab yourself some peach or light orange (available at most makeup counters). Dab a tiny bit on your finger and apply to the bruise (not too hard, or you can make the bruise even worse) and then cover with a foundation or concealer.
This may not cover the bruise completely, but it will, at least, reduce the appearance and make it much less noticeable. If your bruise is raised, skip the powder to set it as it can draw further attention to the area.
Next page: caring for a bruise, and when to see a doctor.