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Fact or Fiction: Bruises
by Staff
We've all had bruises. For some people, they're a rare occurrence, and for others they're a fact of everyday life. But what, exactly, is happening under your skin when you bruise? Test your knowledge with this bruises quiz.

If you have a bruise, it's because a vein has burst under your skin.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: It's capillaries that break to form a bruise.

Most bruises heal in a few days.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: It usually takes a week or two.

Brand-new bruises are usually reddish.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: They're purplish-blue.

Bruises turn blue or purple because oxygen has been cut off from the area.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: They appear that color because the blood is so close to the surface of the skin.

It's your red blood cells that turn blue when the oxygen supply disappears.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: It's your white blood cells that turn blue.

If, instead of healing, your bruise gets bigger or more painful, you may have a subcutaneous hemangioma.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: The correct term is subcutaneous hematoma.

If you have a subcutaneous hematoma, you should see a doctor immediately.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: If the hematoma is larger than an inch in diameter, call your doctor.

Another bruise complication is called heterotopic ossification, which happens when your body deposits calcium around the injury.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: Heterotopic ossification is a bruised bone.

Spontaneous raised bruising is cause for concern because it could be caused by a rare skin disease.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: Spontaneous bruises that are firm and raised could be caused by a rare blood disorder.

Regular doses of aspirin will probably cause your bruises to last longer.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: Taking aspirin will actually help your bruises heal faster.

Fish oil supplements decrease your risk of bruising.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: True, but only in men for some reason.

You become more susceptible to bruising as you age.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: It's the other way around.

Immediate application of heat is the best way to minimize a bruise.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: Applying ice immediately, and then heat about five minutes later, is the ideal process.

If your bruise really hurts, you should take Tylenol or Excedrin instead of aspirin.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: Yes, you should avoid aspirin, but take Advil or Motrin instead.

The old 'steak on a black eye' remedy is, in fact, the best treatment for a bruise.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: Slap a chicken breast onto your eye instead of that steak.

Ectopic bruising happens when the bruise appears somewhere other than the site of impact.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: It's called anthromorpic bruising.

Women bruise more easily than men do.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: Women get more bruises because they're more clumsy.

Bruises can be scored on a scale from zero to five, with critical bruises carrying the risk of death.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: Critical bruises are serious, but you can't die from a bruise.

You could have a hernia if you have bruising around your belly button.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: The culprit is most likely gallbladder disease.

If you bruise easily, it could be because you don't have enough vitamin B12 or folic acid in your diet.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: Vitamin B12 is a factor, but folic acid isn't.