Explanation and Causes:

Gangrene is a condition that is characterized by the death of an organ or body tissue. It is a very serious condition that requires immediate medical attention.

There are 3 types of Gangrene:

  • Dry Gangrene
  • Wet Gangrene
  • Gas Gangrene

All three of these can be caused by:

  • Serious injury
  • Diabetes
  • Blood vessel disease such arteriosclerosis
  • Surgery
  • Infection

Symptoms:

    General symptoms include:

  • Discoloration
  • Fever
  • Slothing off of the skin
  • Shiny appearance of the skin
  • Sometimes bad smelling discharge

Wet Gangrene:

  • Blood flow interruption
  • Spreads very quickly
  • From burns, clot or freezing injuries
  • Skin is bruised swollen and blistered

Dry Gangrene:

  • Blood flow interruption
  • Not usually associated with infection
  • Skin becomes dry, shriveled, and dark

Gas Gangrene:

  • Bacteria (Clostridia) enters a site of injury or of surgery
  • Rapidly destroys muscle tissue and surrounding tissue
  • Swelling in the dermis
  • First the skin turns pale then dark red then purple
  • Odorous discharge
  • Very painful

Diagnosis and Tests:

  • Blood tests
  • X-rays of the infected area
  • CT scan
  • MRI
  • Testing of the discharge

Treatment:

  • Treat the underlying cause of the gangrene
  • Antibiotics if infection caused
  • Blood thinners to ease tension of interrupted blood flow
  • Cut away any infected skin
  • For gas gangrene–use of a hyperbaric chamber for oxygen therapy
  • Amputation if necessary to prevent the spread of the gangrene

Prevention:

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