The condition known as Bateman’s Purpura, otherwise known as senile purpura, is a common one among senior citizens. It can be unsightly and embarrassing but is not necessarily dangerous, unless it is connected to an underlying condition.
You should always consult your doctor if you are concerned about the appearance of any bruising, in order to determine if there is some other condition causing it that needs to be treated.
Clinically speaking, Bateman’s Purpura is described as a weakening of the blood vessels and connective tissues just below the surface of the skin. Because these structures are weakened, they tend to break easily when injury occurs, resulting in a release of blood near the surface of the skin. This pooling of blood appears as large red or purplish blotches on the skin.
It occurs most frequently on the forearms and the backs of the hands but can also occur on the legs. In most cases, these blotches fade away on their own after several days but they can sometimes leave behind a faint yellowish mark due to an increase of iron in the skin after the release of so much blood.
What causes Bateman’s Purpura?
The condition is mostly seen on sun-damaged skin of people over the age of fifty. As mentioned above it is due to the weakened state of blood vessel walls. Over many years, sunlight damages the skin and underlying blood vessels, making the walls very fragile. With slight trauma (brushing against something) the walls break and the blood leaks into the surrounding skin.
Alcohol, aspirin, and prednisone can contribute to the formation of Bateman’s purpura. Alcohol and aspirin thin the blood, therefore making it easier to leak into the skin. Prednisone causes the blood vessel walls to become very fragile.
Are there treatment options for the bruising?
Though it is nearly impossible to prevent Bateman’s Purpura, limiting sun exposure can help to improve general health and certainly the health of the skin. In cases where misuse of blood thinners is responsible for the blotches, your doctor may recommend changing your dosage or even switching medications entirely in order to avoid lessen their appearance.
Unless there is an underlying condition causing BP, which would need to be treated, there is no medical reason to treat the blotches. However, some individuals still seek to reduce the appearance of the lesions for cosmetic reasons. In this case, there are several types of treatment that have proven successful in helping to fade Bateman’s Purpura and even discourage the development of more lesions.
There are several special cosmetics, such as Dermablend and Covermark, that are specifically designed to hide skin blemishes. Another helpful treatment is the use of Vitamin K cream, which has shown a remarkable ability to reduce the appearance of age related marks. Also, alpha hydroxyacid lotions can be used to stimulate natural collagen growth and thicken the skin, reducing the tendency to bruise heavily.
Perhaps the most exciting development in the area of treatment is a recent study that showed the use of a medication known as Purpurex can not only reduce the appearance of existing Bateman’s Purpura but also significantly slow the development of others in the future. So if you are dealing with these unpleasant effects of aging, there is room for hope.
Other Age Related Skin Conditions: