GANGRENE: Cause, Type, Symptom, Treatment, And Prevention
What is Gangrene?
Gangrene develops when there is no blood supply in the body tissue. It can be due to, or worsened by, certain underlying illnesses like injury, diabetes, and infection. Most of the time, Gangrene affects limbs, toes, and fingers. Chances are it might potentially spread into the internal organs. Irrespective of where it emerges, it is a medical emergency to consult a Gangrene Specialist Doctor to prevent it from spreading in the body.
What are the Common Types of Gangrene?
Dry Gangrene – occurs when there is no sufficient oxygen supply, and eventually, blood flow stops. The tissue turns dry, itchy, and changes colour to greenish-black.
Wet Gangrene – When an infection pervades into the internal organ and obstructs blood supply, wet Gangrene occurs. It forms blisters and swelling. Wet gangrene is especially dangerous and can spread fast and make the patient very sick.
Gas Gangrene – A rare type of Gangrene that is extremely dangerous when it spreads inside the organs and can be fatal or result in major amputations.
Due to the above reasons, it’s advisable to find the best doctor for Gangrene for proper diagnosis and treatment at the earliest.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Gangrene?
The symptoms of Gangrene will vary due to the underlying reason. Usually, it starts appearing in toes, feet, fingers, and hands. It can start affecting the body. Without any treatment, the tissue is dead and starts changing colour from reddish-brown to purple, black.
● Pain in the affected area
● Swelling and blisters
● Discolouration in the skin with the hues of greenish-black, pale white, red.
● Foul-smelling wound
● Fever and low blood pressure if the Gangrene is internal
● Crackling on skin
● Aching consistently in the same body part
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What are the Risk Factors for Gangrene?
When the transport of oxygen and blood halts, an infection occurs, if not treated by a Gangrene specialist doctor, it increases its risks. A certain group of people has a high chance of having Gangrene.
● Diabetes – A condition in which the blood sugar rises high
● Atherosclerosis – The arteries are clogged, thereby restricting the blood flow
● Raynaud’s – certain blood vessels, especially in fingers and toes, react due to the cold weather.
● Weak immune system – If your immune system is weak, there are high stakes of getting infections leading to Gangrene. Apart from that, your immune can weaken due to:
– HIV infection
– Kidney failure
● Trauma – A serious injury can cause damage to tissue or loss of blood, open wound resulting in bacterial infection. Such traumatic injuries and accidents can escalate the chances of Gangrene.
How do Doctors Diagnose Gangrene?
It’s imperative to find a hospital for gangrene treatment for better diagnosis.
The gangrene diagnosis is based on physical examination, conducting tests, and asking questions about your medical history.
The doctor will consider the affected area and identify the symptoms like foul smell, colour change on the skin. Numerous tests are performed for the diagnosis of Gangrene.
Blood Tests – To check the bacteria and signs for the infection.
Imaging Tests: This will include an MRI scan, CT scan, X-Rays to understand how much Gangrene has spread in the body. With these tests, doctors can also understand if there are any blockages and learn more about the patient’s blood vessels.
Surgery: If the infection is damaging the internal organs, then the doctor will recommend surgery.
What are the Treatments for Gangrene?
Gangrene is a serious and fatal condition. Hence, it would help if you began the treatment before the test results arrived. In that case, a Gangrene specialist doctor will assist you accordingly.
A Gangrene specialist doctor will conduct multiple diagnoses. Based on that, they will offer you more than one treatment to cure the deadly disease.
Antibiotics: To treat Gangrene infections, the doctor will prescribe some antibiotics in injections and tablets. It will destroy the bacteria and prevent the infection from growing further. In certain scenarios, you may need a blood transfusion.
Larval Debridement Therapy: It removes the dead tissues and prevents them from spreading further. With this therapy, the fly larvae feed on the dead tissues and avoid the healthy tissues. It also restores energy and improves the healing process. As per the medical studies, it’s been said that Larval Debridement Therapy speeds up the recovery.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy: Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy is beneficial for specific types of Gangrene. Providing the required oxygen may help in recovery. This therapy will stop producing toxins in the body by bacteria. The oxygen can also stop the spread of bacteria that produces harmful toxins, especially in Gas Gangrene.
Surgery – In certain cases, surgery will be an option to restore blood flow. There are two primary surgeries that doctors undergo.
Bypass Surgery – With this surgery, it will redirect the blood into the blocked arteries.
Angioplasty – With this surgery, the blocked arteries are broadened to increase the blood flow. The specialist will put a “balloon” to stretch the arteries.
There are numerous ways you can prevent and lower the risk of Gangrene. Below mentioned are preventive measures you can start practising.
● If you are prone to diabetes, get your feet checked frequently. Always look out for cuts, sores, and swellings.
● Do not wear tight shoes.
● Wash your feet with warm water and let them dry completely. Maintain hygiene especially surrounding your toes.
● Avoid walking barefoot.
● Smoking causes blocked arteries, thereby pausing the blood supply in the arms and legs. Hence, contact your GP for medical service.
● Consuming unhealthy food, especially high in fat, will increase the risk of Gangrene. Keep the blood sugar and cholesterol under control. We suggest you get your cholesterol tests done and consult your doctor.
● Along with a healthy diet, get yourself moving. Start small. Be it walking or doing strength training. Just start under the supervision of a doctor and certified trainer.
Some FAQs on Gangrene
Often, individuals have questions about Gangrene. We have jotted down some of the most common questions for your better understanding.
1. What risks are associated With Gangrene?
The two biggest risks associated with this fatal disease are organ failure or even death. If you are a chain-smoker, diabetic, or any other condition, consult your GP. Ensure to find the best hospital for gangrene treatment and do not cause any delay as it surges quickly.
2. Can we prevent Gangrene?
Yes, you can prevent Gangrene under the guidance of a Gangrene specialist doctor. Alongside, you can consider a few preventative measures to reduce the risk of Gangrene. For instance, get a foot health checkup, avoid fatty food, workout, no barefoot walking.
3. Difference between dry Gangrene and gas Gangrene?
There are primarily three types of Gangrene. The former occurs when there is not enough oxygen supply. Whereas for the latter, the bacteria named Clostridium perfringens produce toxins and gas, resulting in tissue damage. Gas Gangrene is lethal.
4. What if Gangrene was left untreated?
Gangrene spreads rapidly throughout the body due to bacteria. If it is left untreated, then it calls for serious complications. You might need to remove the body part. It can also result in organ failure, eventually resulting in death. Always get your health checkup done.
5. When should I call my doctor?
Keep checking your feet, toes, and other parts of your body. If you notice any consistent swelling, soreness, and pain in any area of your body, call your doctor. Book the appointment of the best doctor for Gangrene when discolouration starts, and the wound and infection are worsening. If you notice the symptoms, then immediately contact a Gangrene specialist doctor.