Gangrene refers to the death of tissue or organ due to lack of blood supply. This can occur due to injury, burns or infection. They are of different types like dry gangrene, wet gangrene, internal and gas gangrenes.
The most important and visible symptom is the discoloration of the skin with colors ranging from pale blue, purple, bronze or black. Swelling, blisters and pain are also present. Blisters or sores emit a foul-smelling discharge.
Treatment of gangrene is based on several factors like previous medical history, age, overall health and allergies. The severity of gangrene and early identification of the problem also determine the prognosis.
Treatment procedures and approaches:
Complications of gangrene:
Gangrene, when ignored, can progress to become sepsis, a serious blood infection. Sepsis further causes organ failure, cognitive changes, low blood pressure and shock. It may also be fatal. Scarring of skin may occur and it may involve smaller or larger areas depending on the severity of gangrene.
Reconstructive surgery and amputation may be recommended if the gangrene is hard to control or has already spread to larger areas of the body.
Most severe conditions of gangrene may result in organ failure and death.
Prevention of gangrene:
Gangrene can be prevented by keeping a watch on the healing of wounds, especially, if the patient is diabetic. Regular checking and cleaning of feet is also required for people who are diabetic and also for elderly persons. Any signs of slow healing injury or skin breakdown has to be given immediate medical attention as diagnosing such problems early can help in better healing and avoid amputation.
Following a healthy lifestyle, quitting smoking and alcohol also goes a long way in preventing gangrene among a host of other health problems.