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Gangrene is the death of tissues in your body. It happens when a part of your body loses its blood supply. Gangrene can happen on the surface of the body, such as on the skin, or inside the body, in muscles or organs. Causes include

Skin symptoms may include a blue or black color, pain, numbness, and sores that produce a foul-smelling discharge. If the gangrene is internal, you may run a fever and feel unwell, and the area may be swollen and painful.

Gangrene is a serious condition. It needs immediate attention. Treatment includes surgery, antibiotics, and oxygen therapy. In severe cases an amputation may be necessary.

Symptoms of Gangrene

The following features are indicative of Gangrene:
  • skin discoloration
  • a clear line between healthy and damaged skin
  • severe pain followed by a feeling of numbness
  • a foul-smelling discharge leaking from a sore
  • low blood pressure
  • fever
  • rapid heart rate
  • lightheadedness
  • shortness of breath
  • confusion

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Common Causes of Gangrene

The following are the most common causes of Gangrene:
  • lack of blood supply
  • diabetes
  • weakened immune system
  • gunshot wounds

Risk Factors for Gangrene

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Gangrene:
  • diabetes
  • blood vessel disease
  • trauma to the skin and underlying tissue
  • smoking
  • obesity
  • atherosclerosis

Prevention of Gangrene

Yes, it may be possible to prevent Gangrene. Prevention may be possible by doing the following:
  • take care for diabetes
  • maintain normal body weight
  • don't use tobacco

Occurrence of Gangrene

Number of Cases

The following are the number of Gangrene cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Common between 1 - 10 Million cases

Common Age Group

Gangrene most commonly occurs in the following age group:
  • Aged > 50 years

Common Gender

Gangrene can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Gangrene

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Gangrene:
  • Blood tests: To indicate the presence of an infection
  • X-ray, Computerized tomography (CT) scan or Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan: To view interior body structures and assess the extent to which gangrene has spread
  • Surgery: To determine the extent to which gangrene has spread within the body
  • Fluid or tissue culture: To view tissue sample under a microscope for signs of cell death

Doctor for Diagnosis of Gangrene

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Gangrene:
  • General Surgeon
  • Infectious disease specialist

Complications of Gangrene if untreated

Yes, Gangrene causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Gangrene is left untreated:
  • foot may need to be removed
  • can be fatal

Procedures for Treatment of Gangrene

The following procedures are used to treat Gangrene:
  • Surgery: To eliminate the dead tissue and repair diseased blood vessels

Self-care for Gangrene

The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Gangrene:
  • Don't use tobacco: Lowers the risk of developing gangrene
  • Take care for diabetes: People with diabetes should routinely examine their feet for any signs of injury, infection, or change in skin color

Alternative Medicine for Treatment of Gangrene

The following alternate medicine and therapies are known to help in the treatment or management of Gangrene:
  • Apply honey: Improves the wound healing process
  • Hyperbaric oxygen therapy: To treat gangrene

Patient Support for Treatment of Gangrene

The following actions may help Gangrene patients:
  • Supportive care: Helps in relieving discomfortness and coping with the disease

Time for Treatment of Gangrene

While time-period of treatment for each patient may vary, below is the typical time-period for Gangrene to resolve if treated properly under an expert supervision:
  • More than 1 year

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 2/04/2019.
This page provides information for Gangrene.

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