Gangrene is a serious health condition that occurs when body tissue dies because of obstructed circulation or bacterial infection. It is often the result of an injury or an infection of the skin and the body tissue. The condition typically affects the toes and the limbs. It can also affect the body muscles and organs, but this is rare. The most common symptoms of this condition include discolored skin, numbness in the affected area, and the formation of pus. Left untreated, the condition can lead to a fatal infection.
Diabetics are at an increased risk of developing gangrene. High blood sugar levels can cause nerve damage, which can lead to a loss of sensation in the affected area. This can leave you vulnerable to injuries.
High blood sugar can also limit the blood flow to the feet. If the blood circulation is poor in the feet, any wounds to the feet can take longer to heal. Any wounds to the feet are more likely to be infected.
The risk of developing gangrene increases if there are other medical conditions that impair the blood circulation. There are various diseases that affect the blood vessels and increases the risk, one of which is diabetes. Other conditions that affect the blood circulation includes Raynaud’s disease, peripheral arterial disease, and Atherosclerosis.
Minor infections, if left untreated in people with impaired immune systems can also lead to gangrene. Weak immune systems can be caused by many reasons including diabetes, HIV, or kidney failure.
Certain lifestyle changes can reduce your risk of developing gangrene. If you are a diabetic, you should regularly check your hands and feet for any signs of infection.
If you are a smoker, quit smoking. Smoking, on a long term, tends to weaken blood vessels and increase the risk of developing gangrene.
Being overweight can increase the stress on your arteries, restricting blood flow and increasing your risk of catching an infection.
Dr. A S Sanjay
MBBS,Cert course in Diabetology, Ex-Capt(AMC)