What is gangrene

Gangrene is a condition in which a certain part of the body tissue dies and subsequently begins to decompose.

It develops when the blood supply to the affected tissue is interrupted as a result of various processes such as infection, vascular disease – disease of the blood vessels, or trauma.

Gangrene can start in any part of the body. But the toes, fingers, and toes are most often affected by gangrene.

There are two main types of gangrene:

  • Dry gangrene is caused by the gradual reduction of blood flow in the arteries. In this type of gangrene, the affected tissue is isolated from the healthy tissue. Over time, the condition progresses and the tissue becomes colder than the surrounding healthy tissue, turning black. People who are at risk of developing dry gangrene are usually those with atherosclerosis, as a result of elevated levels of low-density cholesterol.
  • Wet or wet gangrene develops as a complication of an untreated infected wound. The swelling resulting from the bacterial infection causes the blood flow to stop suddenly. Stopping blood flow makes it easier for bacteria to enter and multiply in the muscles because white blood cells cannot reach the affected area.
  • Gas gangrene is a type of wet gangrene caused by bacteria more popularly known as Clostridia. The bacterium causes an infection that grows and multiplies only in the absence of oxygen. As it grows, Clostridia begins to release toxins and gases, and that is why the condition is defined as gas gangrene.

What are the symptoms of gangrene?

Dry gangrene:

  • The affected area changes and becomes cold and numb;
  • Initially the area becomes red;
  • Then discoloration begins, which acquires a brown hue;
  • And in the last stage, the area damaged by gangrene turns black and shrivels;

Wet or moist gangrene:

  • The affected area swells and begins to decompose;
  • The process is extremely painful;
  • Slight local bleeding may be observed;
  • A fetid odor is emitted from the gangrene;
  • Then turns black;
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  • Body temperature rises;

Gas gangrene:

  • The wound is infectious;
  • A brown-black or bloody discharge may ooze from the tissues damaged by the gangrene;</li >
  • The gas released by Clostridia upon pressure of the affected tissue may cause a crackling sensation;
  • The area of ​​gangrene swells;</ li>
  • The pain from the affected tissues is extremely severe;
  • The affected person’s body temperature rises, his pulse is rapid and his breathing is rapid and shallow. These symptoms occur if toxins enter the bloodstream.

Gangrene Treatment

Those affected by gangrene should be examined and treated immediately , to prevent the spread of gangrene. The main therapies used are surgery and antibiotics, which have been shown to be effective. Treatment requires hospitalization.

Dry gangrene: it is vital to restore blood flow to the affected tissues, as the cause of gangrene is the cessation of blood supply to the gangrenous tissues. A review by a vascular surgeon is necessary to determine whether there will be benefit from surgical intervention to restore blood flow.

Wet gangrene: a surgical necrectomy is performed – removal of dead tissue, and antibiotics are given intravenously to control the infection.

Gas gangrene: must be treated aggressively because of the danger of rapid spread through the blood stream and damage to vital organs. The wound should be debrided immediately and the person placed on aggressive antibiotic therapy.

How to protect yourself

Prevention of gangrene is extremely important, as it is a serious and dangerous disease that can lead to the loss of tissues and even limbs.

To maintain your health and prevent gangrene, you should adhere to some basic principles of wound care and maintaining good general health.

  1. Wound cleanliness and sterility: Keeping wounds clean and sterile is critical. To achieve this, use an antiseptic solution that is suitable for your wound. This can be chlorhexidine, hydrogen peroxide, iodine or another similar product. Clean your wounds carefully and regularly, following the instructions of your doctor or pharmacist.
  2. Monitoring for signs of infection: It is important to monitor your wound after wound dressing. If you notice signs of infection such as pus, redness, swelling or pain, you need to act quickly. The infection can spread quickly and lead to gangrene, so consult a doctor immediately. Treatment of the infection is essential.
  3. Control of diabetes: Diabetes is a factor that increases the risk of gangrene. If you are diabetic, it is important to keep your blood sugar levels stable by following your doctor’s recommendations. Check your feet regularly for sores, scars, or changes in skin color. Even the smallest disturbances in the blood supply to the legs can lead to gangrene.
  4. Appropriate clothing and footwear: Avoid tight and uncomfortable footwear that may impair blood circulation in the feet. Wear clean, dry socks every day and choose them so that there are no lumps or wraps that can irritate the skin and predispose to sores.
  5. Healthy Lifestyle: Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help keep the blood supply to your tissues in optimal condition. Proper nutrition, regular physical activity and avoiding smoking are important for maintaining the health of blood vessels and tissues.

Wound Care Tips: In the event of an injury, you should follow these steps:

  • Wash the wound with clean water and mild soap.
  • Cover the wound with clean gauze or a bandage.
  • Change the bandage daily or as directed by the doctor.
  • Avoid self-medication with antibiotics without consulting a doctor.

Maintaining good hygiene, regular check-ups and timely medical care are essential to prevent the gangrene.

In case of injury or signs of infection, do not hesitate to seek professional help.

This careful and cautious approach can help protect you from serious health problems and complications such as gangrene.

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