Gangrene

Gangrene is a disease that damages the tissues of the body because of reduced blood circulation to that part. This disease is usually known to affect the body parts away from the heart such as the hands, toes and fingers. However, Gangrene is not just limited to the external parts of the body but also affects the internal organs of the body. Gangrene initially attacks one part of the body such as the legs or hands.

Causes

Gangrene basically caused when there is reduced or completely no blood flow to one part of the body. The causes igniting this disease are;

  • Diabetes
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Peripheral arterial disease
  • Trauma or injury
  • Raynaud’s phenomenon

Symptoms

The symptoms of gangrene include;

  • A visible red line on the skin on the affected area
  • Numbness and cold on the affected area
  • Death of the tissue
  • Affected area changes red to brown and then turns black
  • The dead tissue shrinks and sheds off

Tests

To detect gangrene, the physician will conduct the following tests;

  • Blood tests
  • Tissue test
  • Fluid culture
  • MRI Scans
  • CT Scans
  • X-rays
  • Surgery

Treatment

Treatment for gangrene includes;

  1. Antibiotics- Intravenous antibiotics are given to the patient to cut down the level of bacteria present in the body causing gangrene.
  2. Vascular surgery- Surgery of the arteries of veins is done to improve the flow of blood into the blood tissues.
  3. Hyperbaric Oxygen Chamber- This treatment involves giving oxygen-rich environment to minimize the growth rate of bacteria.
  4. Tissue Debridement- This treatment includes removing the dead tissue through surgery or chemicals. This is done when no other treatment works.
  5. Amputation- The affected area of gangrene is treated through medications and other methods. Every possible treatment is done and when it leads to failure, amputation of the affected area is the last resort doctors depend on.

Prognosis

If detected early, gangrene can be treated without any complications. However, severe gangrene can lead to amputation of the affected area. Gangrene can prove to be fatal in some people.

Prevention

To prevent gangrene, the following measures should be followed;

  • Foot care, especially when one is diabetic
  • Smoking
  • Proper treatment of cuts
  • Frostbite

Treatment cost

The average annual cost of treating gangrene costs upto $47,100.