Gangrene refers to the death of tissues due to loss of oxygen-rich blood supply or inadequate blood supply to the tissue. It mostly affects extremities such as limbs, fingers, and toes. There are two types of gangrene namely, dry and wet gangrene.
Dry gangrene is called mummification, the skin becomes dry and dark in colour ranging from brown to purplish blue and feel cold to touch. It is very common among diabetics and patients with blood vessel conditions like arteriosclerosis.
Wet gangrene or gas gangrene is also called as clostridial myonecrosis refers to the death of tissues due to the reduced or blocked blood supply. The disturbed blood supply is caused due to infections and includes pus formation. Individuals affected with wet gangrene may develop sepsis and any delay in treatment may cause death.
Dry forms result from a progressive loss of blood supply to tissues. Dry forms can become wet forms if they develop a bacterial infection.
Many lifestyle health conditions such as high blood pressure, obesity, diabetic neuropathy, any disease that affects the blood flow in blood vessels as well as drug and alcohol addiction pose a risk of developing gangrene.
Symptoms Of Dry Gangrene:
- Numbness in skin
- Discolouration of the skin; blue-black in colour
- Flaky, dry and shriveled skin
Symptoms Of Wet Gangrene:
- Discolouration of the skin; red to black skin
- Pus formation
- Fever and uneasiness
- Pus-filled sores.
Diagnosis And Treatment
The doctor will do a through a physical examination to evaluate the type and extent of the necrosis and to rule out any wet gangrene. Further certain tests are recommended which include blood tests, culture test, X-ray, MRI and CT to determine the depth of infections.
Treatment for wet gangrene aims to prevent the spread of infection. Both wet and dry gagrene treatments include removal of dead tissues and treating the underlying cause of the disease. In case of severe infection, amputation and skin grafting is recommended.