What Is Gangrene?
Gangrene is the death of tissue in part of the body; this can occur
when the body part loses its blood supply, which may happen after a
serious Injury; due to a Blood Vessel Disease, such as Arteriosclerosis,
also called Hardening of the Arteries, in your arms or legs; having
Diabetes; or having a Suppressed Immune System, due to HIV or Chemotherapy;
or even after Serious Surgery.
What To Look For?
The physical signs of Gangrene depend on the location and cause of the
Gangrene; if the skin is involved, or the Gangrene is close to the skin,
the symptoms may include Discoloration, such as blue or black if the
skin is affected, or red or bronze if the affected area is beneath the
skin; there may be a Loss of Feeling in the area, which may happen after
a Severe Pain in the area; though, one of the most obvious signs is
a Foul Smelling Discharge.
If the affected area is inside the body, such as Gangrene of the Gallbladder
or Gas Gangrene, the symptoms may include, Confusion; Fever; Gas in
Tissues beneath the skin; a general ill feeling; Low Blood Pressure
or Persistent and Severe Pains.
What To Do?
If you notice any signs of Gangrene DO
NOT DELAY, call your doctor immediately; if treatment
is delayed and the Gangrene is extensive, or the person has other significant
medical problems, they may die; however, if it is treated before the
tissue damage is irreversible, it can be avoided; people with Diabetes,
or blood vessel disease, should routinely examine their feet for any
signs of injury, Infection, or change in skin color and seek immediate
care as needed.
Doctors should be able to diagnose Gangrene from a physical examination;
in addition, the following tests and procedures could be used, such
as an Arteriogram, a special x-ray to see any blockages in the blood
vessels, to help plan treatment for blood vessel disease; Blood tests,
the white blood cell count may be high; a CT scan, to examine the internal
organs; a Culture of the tissue or fluid from wounds, to identify a
bacterial Infection; an Examination of tissue under the microscope,
to look for cell death and Surgery, to find and remove dead tissue.
All Gangrene requires urgent evaluation and treatment; in general, the
dead tissue should be removed to allow healing of the surrounding living
tissue and prevent any further Infection; depending on the area that
has the Gangrene, the person's overall condition and the cause of the
Gangrene, treatment may include Amputation of the body part; an emergency
Operation to find and remove dead tissue; an Operation to improve the
blood supply to the area; repeated Operations to remove dead tissue
'debridement'; treatment in the Intensive Care Unit, for severely ill
patients; or if not too severe just Antibiotics.