Gangrene is the death of body tissue due to a lack of blood supply and is most often seen in the extremities, internal organs, or muscles. People with diabetes or atherosclerosis (hardened arteries) are at the highest risk of developing gangrene. There are many types of gangrene, but they tend to share similar treatments. Doctors typically treat the condition by removing dead tissue, using hyperbaric oxygen therapy, or antibiotics. If caught early, medical care can heal gangrene, and affected body parts do not necessarily require amputation.
Skin discoloration is one of the first signs of gangrene. The skin may become pale, black, purple, fiery red. The type of gangrene often determines the color, Gangrenous skin also swells, sometimes forming blisters, and looks damaged. Individuals with the condition may notice skin in a certain area is thinner than the rest and hair growth stops. Often, the skin is cool to the touch and may exude a discharge with a foul smell. When gangrene is advanced, individuals experience numbness or develop a low-grade fever, especially if the gangrene has damaged tissue beneath the skin. If a bacterial infection is responsible for the condition and begins to spread, it is possible to develop septic shock. People who have this kind of gangrene may have a rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, and feel confused.