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Gangrene is a condition that occurs when your body tissue dies. This can happen when the blood flow to an area of the body is disrupted. Often, gangrene is the result of an injury or an infection of the skin and soft tissue.
Gangrene typically affects the toes, fingers, and limbs. This condition is generally characterized by discolored skin, feelings of numbness, and unusual formation of discharge or pus. If you develop gangrene, you should seek immediate medical attention.
Urgent care is needed to remove the dead tissue and prevent the bacteria from spreading through your bloodstream. If left untreated, gangrene can lead to a life-threatening infection. If you have diabetes, you have an increased risk of developing gangrene. High blood sugar levels can damage your nerves, which can cause a loss of sensation in the affected area. This can make it easier for you to develop an injury. High blood sugar can also affect your blood vessels and limit the blood flow to your feet.
This causes a chain reaction. Any potential wounds are also more likely to be infected. There are several conditions that affect the blood vessels and can increase your risk, such as diabetes. Other conditions include:. Minor infections in people with weakened immune systems can also become more serious and lead to gangrene. Weak immune systems can be caused by:. This form can happen when blood flow is blocked in a given area of the body. Your blood carries oxygen to different parts of your body.
All of your organs need oxygen to survive. The affected area is often characterized by a dark green or purple, almost black color. The skin may be dry and wrinkled due to the lack of oxygen. Like its name, wet gangrene has a wet appearance. This type is characterized by blisters and swelling. Wet gangrene typically occurs in people who have frostbite or experience a severe burn. People with diabetes may unknowingly develop wet gangrene after experiencing a minor toe or foot injury.
Blood flow to the extremities is generally diminished in people with diabetes. This means that the tissue in these areas is unable to heal as quickly. As a result, infection can develop more easily. This type usually occurs from an infection that develops deep inside the body. Harmful bacteria release gas, damaging tissue, cells, and blood vessels.
Gas gangrene can appear at an area of trauma or recent surgery. Your skin may swell and appear brownish-red in color. Gas gangrene is an especially deadly form of gangrene, as it can develop suddenly and without warning. Internal gangrene can develop when blood flow to an internal organ is blocked. This commonly affects the intestines, gallbladder, and appendix. If this occurs, you may experience severe pain and fever.
This form of gangrene is restricted to the genital organs. This is often characterized by pain, swelling, and general tenderness in the genital region. Often, the tissue will appear purple, green, or even black and have an extremely foul smell. This rare type of gangrene can develop after a surgery or operation. Skin lesions can develop around the affected area one to two weeks after your surgery. You doctor will discuss your medical history and perform a brief physical examination. Be sure to tell your doctor about any recent trauma, injuries, or wounds that you may have had.
These could be the source of the condition. Blood tests can determine whether your white blood cell count is higher than normal. This could indicate an infection. An image test called an arteriogram can look at your arteries to see how blood is flowing and pinpoint any disruptions. If internal gangrene is suspected, you may need a surgical examination to confirm your diagnosis.
This can prevent the gangrene from spreading to other parts of the body. Your doctor may perform a debridement. This involves surgically removing the affected tissue. Your doctor may also recommend a skin graft to repair the damage from gangrene and any defects left after debridement. A skin graft is a form of reconstructive surgery.
Healthy skin is removed from a nondescript area on the body and used to replace the damaged skin. In extreme cases, your doctor will recommend for the foot, toe, finger or place of infection to be removed or amputated. Antibiotics are necessary to fight off any infection. There are several things that you can do to reduce your risk of developing gangrene. If you have diabetes, you should regularly check your hands and feet for lesions or signs of infection.
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The fluctuation can make you feel irritable, confused, and not…. Other risk factors to consider. Types of gangrene. How is gangrene diagnosed? How is gangrene treated? How to prevent gangrene.
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Gangrene and Diabetes: Know the Facts
Diabetic foot ulcerations result from different physiopathological mechanisms; a clear understanding of them is crucial to reduce their incidence, provide early care, and finally delay the amputation risk. The three main diabetes complications involved in foot ulcerations are neuropathy, peripheral arterial disease, and infection. The most common pathway to ulceration is peripheral sensorimotor and autonomic neuropathy, leading to loss of sensitivity, foot deformities, high foot pressure, and dry skin. Peripheral arterial disease is more frequent and more serious in the diabetic population. It delays cicatrization and causes gangrene and finally amputation. Infection is also a major complication of ulceration because of its risk of spreading into deep tissue and bone, which increases the risk of amputation.
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