Gangrene Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment & Insurance | Royal Sundaram
What is Gangrene?
Gangrene is a serious medical condition mostly affecting body extremities like your toes, fingers, and limbs, wherein necrosis or localized tissue death and decomposition occurs due to an infection or restricted blood flow. Loss of blood supply to the extremities due to infection, injury, or an underlying condition is also a major cause of gangrene.
There are numerous health conditions like obesity, diabetes, smoking, atherosclerosis, serious trauma, compromised immunity etc. that could indirectly lead to gangrene by affecting the flow of blood in your body. Peripheral arterial disease or narrowing of the blood vessel (Raynaud’s phenomenon) can also lead to gangrene.
An onset of gangrene usually results in limb amputation or in some extreme cases, even death. The necrotized tissue or body part must be removed or cut out entirely to prevent spreading, which can happen quickly due to disease’s rapid rate of progress. Internally, gangrene can damage organs and muscles.
Gangrene is broadly divided into 2 types, i.e. Dry and Wet. Wet gangrene can be further divided into 3 categories - Commonly found Internal Gangrene and the rarer forms of Fournier’s and Gas Gangrene.
There is pain and swelling whenever your body (cells and tissues) sustains a simple injury. So, it must be easy to imagine the amount of pain one might have to endure if there is premature death of a mass of tissue or a whole-body part. There are many gangrene symptoms which might point towards necrosis, but almost all of them are painful and unpleasant and require immediate medical care.
If infections from gangrenous tissue enter the blood, it causes sepsis resulting in septic shock, which could be fatal in some cases. Some of the warning signs to watch out for are as follows:
- Dry gangrene leads to shrivelled, cold, numb, dried-up skin which sloughs off after changing from blue to black. Dry gangrene might or might not be a painful condition.
- Wet gangrene causes pain and swelling and skin changes colour from red to black at the infection site.
- Bad-smelling sores or blisters with a discharge of Pus.
- Fever and general discomfort.
- Crackling noise emanating from the infection site on the application of pressure.
Wet gangrene is a potentially life-threatening condition and requires immediate medical assistance as it has the ability to spread extremely fast. Due to the accumulation and discharge of pus, it is almost always accompanied by an infection.
Many tests can be employed to diagnose gangrene, like:
- Blood tests to check for an increase in white blood cell count.
- Non-invasive imaging tests like X-ray, computerized tomography or CT scan, a magnetic resonance imaging, i.e. an MRI scan, arteriogram can be performed to check the spread of infection.
- Surgical procedures may be performed to check the spread and extent of the damage.
- Examination of fluid and tissue culture can be done to check for signs of necrosis.
Sepsis from gangrene can be detected by the onset of signs like:
- Low BP
- Tachycardia or elevated heart rate
- High fluctuations in body temperature
- Shortness of breath
- Rashes and body ache
- Confusion and dizziness
- Pale and discoloured cold skin
Gangrene Treatment and Cost in India
Removal of dead tissue, treatment involving cleaning and cauterizing of the infected area to prevent spreading of necrosis, treating the original cause of gangrene onset are some of the common methods followed to prevent the spread of gangrene in the body.
Targeted treatment includes salvaging limbs and saving viable body parts from further damage. This involves debridement or surgery, which is done to remove the dead tissue and prevent the spread of infection. Gangrene treatment also includes Maggot Therapy, which is a non-invasive way of removing the dead tissue. The lab-grown sterile fly larvae remove the dead skin and release a substance that kills the bacteria.
Oxygen therapy is also used to treat gangrene treatment. The patient is put in a room that has heightened oxygen levels, which encourages healing and kills bacteria that need an anaerobic atmosphere to survive. Antibiotics are also used in the treatment to treat and prevent the spread of infection.
Health Insurance in India
As a developing nation, health insurance options and features in India, have come a long way. Diabetes is among the disorders affecting a large part of our population. Health insurance policy providers offer options that cover the hospitalization costs both for patients with prior cases and those recently afflicted.
Chronic diabetes has many grim long-lasting difficulties like complications arising from a variety of nerve damage, microvascular damage, leading to improper wound healing. Poor wound healing, particularly in the extremities like hands and feet, can lead to gangrene, and possibly result in an amputation. Medical insurance benefits and riders should be properly reviewed so that you can choose the best health insurance to protect yourself and your family.
Other Diseases in India
Most infectious diseases or disease-causing agents are a direct result of ignorance or poor living conditions. Health problems arising from an unhealthy lifestyle is mostly attributed to urban living and can be minimized & managed through changes in living habits. However, infectious and communicable diseases that are most rampant in India, even in the current day can only be curtailed through general awareness, adequate sensitization, and education aimed at health and sanitary dwelling conditions.
Some of those diseases are: