What is gangrene?

Gangrene is death and decay of body tissue. It happens when tissues, such as skin and muscle, don't get enough blood. For example, blood may not be able to reach an arm, leg or other part of the body due to an injury or disease. People at risk for gangrene include those who have had an injury or surgery, people with diabetes or blood vessel disease, and people with weak immune systems. Symptoms include loss of feeling in the dying tissue, blue, black or reddish skin, and a foul-smelling discharge. Treatment usually includes removing the dead tissue. Sometimes, amputation is needed. Antibiotics and hyperbaric oxygen therapy may be used to fight infection and raise the amount of oxygen in the blood respectively.

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