Gangrene is discoloration and death of the body's tissue as a result of a lack of blood being supplied to it. Gangrene can be caused by a bacterial infection or a sudden stop of blood flow caused by an injury to the body.
One of the most common signs of gangrene is the skin changing colors. The skin tends to appear pale-colored at the beginning and then begins to turn to a red or bronze color. The last stage of color change is when the skin appears to be dark red or purple.
The infection can cause the skin to feel warm and may also cause it to swell. As the infection invades the tissue, inflammation occurs. Inflammation on the skin can be painful because the tissue is swelling.
Cracks in Skin
The bacteria that is infecting the skin often produces a gas around the swollen area. When the skin is touched or pressed on, the skin may dry out or crack. The infection may spread so quickly that changes in the skin can happen within minutes.
As the tissue in the skin begins to die as a result of an infection, you may notice a foul smell. Along with that, the tissue may produce a red, bloody discharge as the tissue is being destroyed by the infection.
The infection can also lead to signs such as sweating, fever and increased heart rate. If the gangrene is left untreated, the person may also go into shock. Future complications of untreated gangrene include kidney failure, coma and possibly death.
Upon the first sign of gangrene it is urgent to receive treatment. The treatment usually consists of removing the dead tissue and allowing the tissue surrounding it to heal. Treatment may have to include amputation of the body part to eliminate the chance of future infection.