Gangrene is tissue death caused by a lack of blood supply or a significant bacterial infection. Gangrene typically affects the arms and legs, as well as the toes and fingers. It can also arise in the muscles and internal organs such as the gallbladder.

Diabetes and hardened arteries (atherosclerosis), both of which can damage blood vessels and impair blood flow, increase the risk of gangrene.

Antibiotics, oxygen therapy, and surgery to restore blood flow and remove dead tissue may be used to treat gangrene. The sooner gangrene is diagnosed and treated, the higher the prospects of recovery.


When gangrene infects the skin, the following signs and symptoms may occur:

  • Skin color changes ranging from mild gray to blue, purple, black, bronze, or red
  • Swelling
  • Blisters
  • Sudden, acute pain is followed by numbness.
  • A foul-smelling discharge from a wound
  • Skin that is thin, glossy, or hairless
  • Skin that is cool to the touch or cold to the touch

If you have gangrene that affects the tissues beneath the surface of your skin, such as gas gangrene or internal gangrene, you may have a low-grade temperature and feel generally ill.

When should you see a doctor?

Gangrene is a dangerous condition that necessitates immediate medical attention. If you have persistent, unexplained pain in any part of your body, combined with one or more of the following signs and symptoms, see your doctor right away.

  • Fever that does not go away
  • Skin changes that persist, such as pigmentation, warmth, edema, blisters, or lesions
  • A foul-smelling discharge from a wound
  • Pain that appears suddenly at the location of a recent surgery or accident
  • Pale, hard, chilly, and numb skin


Gangrene is caused by a variety of factors, including:

A lack of blood supply. The blood transports oxygen and nutrients throughout the body. It also provides antibodies to the immune system to help it battle infections. Cells cannot survive in the absence of adequate blood supply, and tissue dies.

Infection. Gangrene can result from an untreated bacterial infection.

Injuries caused by trauma. Gunshot wounds or crushing injuries from vehicle accidents can result in open wounds that allow microorganisms to enter the body. Gangrene can arise if germs infect tissues and go untreated.

Gangrene Varieties

Gangrene caused by dryness. This type of gangrene causes dry, shriveled skin that ranges from brown to purplish blue to black. Dry gangrene can develop gradually. Diabetes and blood vessel disease, such as atherosclerosis, are the most common causes.

Gangrene caused by water. If bacteria have infected the tissue, gangrene is referred to as moist. Wet gangrene is characterized by swelling, blistering, and a wet look.

Wet gangrene can form as a result of a severe burn, frostbite, or injury. It frequently develops in diabetics who inadvertently damage a toe or foot. Wet gangrene must be treated right once since it spreads swiftly and can be fatal.

Gangrene caused by gas. Deep muscle tissue is commonly affected by gas gangrene. At first glance, the surface of your skin may appear normal.

As the illness progresses, the skin may become pale and eventually turn gray or purplish red. The skin may appear bubbly. Because of the gas within the tissue, pressing on it may produce a cracking sound.

Clostridium perfringens bacteria are the most common cause of gas gangrene. Bacteria congregate in a bloodless injury or surgical site. Toxins produced by the bacterial infection promote gas production and tissue death. Gas gangrene, like wet gangrene, is a potentially fatal condition.

Internal gangrene is a condition that affects one or more organs, such as the intestines, gallbladder, or appendix. It happens when blood flow to an inside organ is cut off. It could happen, for example, if the intestines bulge through a weaker patch of muscle in the stomach (hernia) and become twisted. Internal gangrene can be fatal if left untreated.

Gangrene in Fournier. The vaginal organs are affected by this type of gangrene. It primarily affects men, although it can also impact women. This type of gangrene is caused by a genital or urinary tract infection.


Here are a few things you can do to lower your chances of getting gangrene:

  • Diabetes should be managed. Controlling your blood sugar levels is critical if you have diabetes. Also, check your hands and feet on a daily basis for wounds, sores, and signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, or drainage. Request that your doctor examine your hands and feet at least once a year.
  • Reduce your weight. Obesity increases the risk of diabetes. The weight also puts strain on the arteries, causing blood flow to slow. Reduced blood flow increases the risk of infection and slows wound healing.
  • Do not use tobacco or smoke. Tobacco use over time harms blood vessels.
  • Use quality footwear like DrLuigi medical footwear to prevent foot diseases
  • Please wash your hands. Maintain good hygiene. Wash any open wounds with warm water and mild soap. Maintain clean and dry hands until they heal.
  • Examine for frostbite. Frostbite lowers blood flow to the affected part of the body. Call your doctor if your skin becomes pale, hard, cold, or numb after being exposed to cold temperatures.


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