Gangrene: Causes & Symptoms

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Gangrene can occur when the tissues of the body start to die, usually affecting the fingers, toes, and limbs.

What is Gangrene?

When a part of the body is cut off from the blood supply, either through injury, infection, or some other condition affecting the circulatory system, gangrene can occur. Gangrene is a form of necrosis, meaning premature cell death, that can affect the body due to insufficient blood flow. If blood flow isn’t returned to the affected tissues and cells, they will die, and the affected area, limb or digit must be amputated to prevent further cell death.


There are five general types of gangrene:

  • Wet
  • Dry
  • Gas
  • Internal
  • Necrotizing fasciitis

There are many different causes of gangrene, and while it isn’t as common today, given our advanced medical knowledge, it can still occur in certain situations.


The main symptoms of gangrene include:

  • Skin discoloration
  • Swelling
  • Extreme pain
  • A foul smell and discharge from the sore or wound

In some cases, it can be fatal, so if you are at risk for this condition, are a chronic smoker, or a diabetic it is recommended to consult a health specialist.

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