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What is Gangrene?

Gangrene is an extremely serious and life threatening condition in which a lack of blood flow causes the death of body tissue. It’s known to affect areas of your limbs as well as your toes and fingers more so than anywhere else. Gangrene has been known to occur from infection, injury or in those that suffer from chronic health conditions.

Two Types of Gangrene

Wet Gangrene: This the more dangerous type of gangrene. It’s called ‘wet’ because of the pus that follows with the condition. Wet gangrene is known to happen most often when injury or trauma caused the body to become crushed or thrown together. This can cause the blood supply to stop in that area. There are three types of wet gangrene as well; Internal (inside the body derived from an infection), Fournier (effective in the genital area from an infection), and Gas (develops in the inside organs and muscles from trauma)

Dry Gangrene: This type of gangrene is what often affects limbs, including the feet. Unlike wet gangrene which is a result of injury, the cut off of blood flow in a case of dry gangrene comes from poor blood circulation overall, causing the death of tissue. Those with conditions of the autoimmune system as well as diabetes are commonly affected by dry gangrene.

Symptoms of Gangrene

Symptoms vary on location of gangrene, but common symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Swelling where the infection is
  • A change in skin color; red to brown to blue and then black
  • An ill smelling discharge
  • Skin tenderness
  • Cold & Numbness in the affected area
  • Severe pain
  • Loss of breath
  • Lightheadedness & confusion

Treatment Options

The biggest factor in treatment of gangrene is an immediate surgical procedure. As soon as any symptoms persist, you should visit a doctor for a full physical examination to determine if you do indeed have gangrene and how to go about treating it immediately.

If the blood flow in the area of the gangrene is severely obstructed, then amputation of the effected limb may be the solution. Other surgical treatments include removing the dead tissue to prevent the spread of infection and methods of surgery that might improve the blood supply.

Gangrene, in any form, is very dangerous. If not treated immediately it can rapidly spread through the body, causing a irreversible infection . See a doctor immediately if you notice even the smallest signs of gangrene. There is no real way to prevent gangrene from developing, but tissue damage is reversible if the condition is treated ASAP.

At West Medical, we properly assess and diagnose each individual case. Gangrenes can be treated a number of ways,and many methods are effective and long lasting. Our doctors are determined to providing a proper diagnosis and thorough assessment of what treatment is ideal for you. If you feel you might be suffering from gangrene or wish to have a doctor assess which treatment option you need, please call West Medical at (855) 690-0565 immediately.

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