Just one of the many joys of taking prednisone.
I know chronic steroid use can cause paper thin skin ( what we call “crepe paper” skin in the biz), which then makes you more susceptible to spontaneous bruising, but Ive noticed lately that if I brush up against almost any surface, no matter how gently, that my skin will actually tear open. Even wearing a long sleeve shirt or sweater causes my skin to bruise up like a ripe banana. The medical term for this condition is Actinic Purpura. It’s actually pretty common benign skin disorder seen mostly in older folks from years of sun exposure and/or individuals who have been on prednisone or inhaled steroids for a long time. The tiny capillaries under the skin become leaky and fragile and bruising can occur almost spontaneously.
Well, a few days ago I was standing in line at a grocery store waiting to checkout, when a women behind me says hysterically… sir sir you’re bleeding!!! I looked down and my forearm was dripping blood like crazy from 3 different places. It was like someone sliced me with a razor. There was actually a puddle of blood forming on the floor and the clerk had to call for someone to clean it up. I must have accidentally brushed my arm up against something on the counter? Ive had small cuts and scratches that I wasnt aware of that bled a little, but nothing like this. How embarrassing. And to he totally honest, a little disconcerting.
I guess this shouldn’t come as a total surprise. I taken prednisone pretty much my entire life ( plus Im out in the sun a lot), but for the past 10 years Ive only been on burst therapy a few times a year for maybe 3-4 weeks at a time, so I figured my risk for this type of side effect was substantially reduced. Ah, but according to Dr Wenzel, there’s also have a cumulative effect where in the longer you’ve been on the drug, even if it’s only intermittently, the more likely you are to develop these kinds of problems. Luckily, bleeding from the skin is more scary looking than dangerous, as superficial skin cuts tend to clot over pretty quickly. But still, does this mean that that I gotta be on guard now every time I’m in a public place so that I dont accidentally bleed on someone? It’s always something.
( Notice the reddish blotches and scratches? That’s from simply leaning against something.)
Anyone else have this problem?