What is a gangrene? What are the symptoms and treatment?

Gangrene is a word of Greek origin and is characterized by softening, shrinkage, drying and darkening of the tissue caused by insufficient blood supply or mechanical or thermal damage. This loss can be seen in almost all organs. The most common tissues and organs are leg, arm, appendix and small intestine. It is often wrongly named as gangrene among the people.

Gangrene can be briefly defined as tissue death resulting from blood supply disorder. Since the skin is predominantly affected, it can be easily seen from the outside with the naked eye. It can occur in two different forms as dry or wet gangrene. The type called age gangrene can also manifest itself as a discharge leg ulcer.


What are the causes of gangrene?

The eventual tissue death resulting in gangrene is caused by a lack of sufficient blood flow, especially to the areas where the event develops. This means that the skin and other tissues cannot be supplied with oxygen and nutrients.

Blood circulation disorder; It occurs as a result of blockage in blood vessels, injury, bacterial infections. Blocking of the vessels as a result of swelling in some organs and thus blocking of blood flow also causes gangrene.

Some diseases and conditions such as diabetes mellitus, obesity, alcohol addiction, some tumors, peripheral vascular disease and HIV can also lead to gangrene. Drug use, smoking and an unhealthy lifestyle also predispose to the development of gangrene.

Gangrene may occur as a side effect of chemotherapy or radiotherapy treatments for cancer. A very poor diet in terms of protein and vitamins can be considered as another reason.



What are the symptoms of cancer?

Initially, it manifests itself with redness, swelling and inflammation of the skin. There is often a foul-smelling discharge due to inflammation. These symptoms are usually accompanied by severe pain and loss of foreign body sensation and sensation in the skin area.

Age gangrene can be described as a black boil surrounded by thin, fragile skin. If this type is left untreated, severe pain, weakness and fever will occur in the affected area. Untreated age gangrene can result in sepsis, which is known as blood poisoning.

When dry gangrene develops, hairy areas appear on the feet. The upper skin is usually covered by a callus that feels cold and hard to the touch. In the last stage of the disease, the skin turns a dark color and eventually dies. The severity of the initially felt pain eases and the affected area becomes paralyzed and cold.

Possible signs of gangrene in the feet are cold and discolored feet, sores caused by dead cellular areas on the toes, and discharge ulcers on the skin. Age gangrene can cause inflammation and itching, while dry gangrene itching is usually more severe.



How is gangrene diagnosed?

The diagnosis of gangrene is made by the patient’s complaints, examination of the affected area, angiography and Doppler examination of blood vessels.


How is gangrene treatment done?

Gangrene treatment is primarily applied by treating the cause. These include applications such as adjusting the blood sugar level, reaching normal blood lipid levels and body weight, and treating if there is an infection. Smoking and alcohol consumption is prohibited. If the blood pressure is high, it should be treated and kept at a healthy value.


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