Gangrene

Overview

Gangrene is tissue death due to either bacterial infection or a a lack of blood flow. It is common with diabetic infections of the foot. Gangrene commonly affects the extremities especially the toes.

There are two types of gangrene: wet & dry forms. Risks of developing gangrene are highest if you have an underlying condition that can damage your blood vessels and affect blood flow, such as diabetes or hardened arteries (atherosclerosis).

Treatments

Treatments for gangrene include surgery to remove dead tissue, antibiotics and hyperbaric oxygen therapy. The prognosis for recovery is better if gangrene is identified early and treated quickly.

Symptoms

Associated symptoms may include:

  • Skin discoloration — ranging from pale to blue, purple, black.
  • Blisters Swelling and fluid formed blisters form as tissue dies
  • Line of Demarcation In time a clear line between healthy and damaged skin may form
  • Pain Sudden, severe pain followed by a feeling of numbness
  • Odor Foul-smelling discharge leaking from sores is common
  • Mumification In dry gangrene in time the involved tissues will desicate and shrink

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