Different Types of Gangrene & Its Symptoms

Gangrene symptomsGangrene is the condition when body tissues die due to stoppage of blood flow through it due to bacterial infection. Any condition like diabetes and atherosclerosis which can affect and damage blood vessels increases the chance of getting affected with gangrene. Generally gangrene affects the limbs, fingers and toes.

Treatment involves surgical removal of dead tissue and administration of antibiotics. An early detection of the disease helps in better treatment and has chances of quicker recovery. So it is important to identify the signs and symptoms and the doctor should be consulted at the very first symptom of gangrene.

Different Types of Gangrene And Their Own Set of Symptoms

Dry Gangrene

One can identify dry gangrene by the red marking on the skin. Generally it is like a red line running around the edges of the affected area or tissue. The affected area generally becomes cold and numb but the patient starts experiencing pain as the tissue begins to die. Some people like the elderly ones may not feel any sensation at all. The affected area starts to change color starting from red, to brown and finally black. The dead tissues then wrinkle and contract to separate from healthy tissue to finally fall off.

Wet Gangrene

Wet gangrene starts off with a swelling of the affected area and the tissue starts decaying. While the patient hardly feels any pain in dry gangrene, the wet gangrene is extremely painful. The change of skin coloris again from red to brown and then to black. But here this change is accompanied by production of foul smelling pus. Generally this condition is accompanied by fever.

Necrotising Fasciitis

It is another type of gangrene that can affect any part of the body. Like all other types of the condition the most affected parts are the extremities. Though the arms, hands, legs and feet are commonly affected, perineum (the skin lying between the anus and genitals) and the torso gets affected too. Swelling, redness accompanied by pain is the common symptom. But the pain is no ordinary pain. It is more than what other typical skin infections generate.

In necrotising fasciitis, the conditions worsen within days and sometimes within hours. The skin becomes purple and then black with severe blister formation. The affected skin can make a crackling sound. The blisters bleed and in some cases watery discharge resembling the color of dishwater is noticed.

Gas Gangrene

This type of gangrene occurs when the tissue beneath the skin gets affected. It is also called internal gangrene and the patient feels heavy in the area which gets affected and experiences severe pain. The area within swells due to formation of gas produced from bacterial activity.  Sometimes, blood red watery discharge oozes out from the area. The patient gets fever and develops increased heart rate as the toxin gets mixed in the blood stream.

If the bacteria get into the blood stream it can result in Septic Shock. On entering they start multiplying and releasing more toxins into the blood. It can damage cells and organs and the patient shows rapid fall in pressure, high fever, palpitations, shortness of breath and confusion.