We talk about diabetic gangrene when necrosis, or tissue death, occurs as a result of uncontrolled diabetic neuropathy. It is usually a condition that arises in cases of the so-called diabetic foot.
The exact incidence is not known. from diabetic gangrene. However, some studies suggest that 30% of diabetic foot infections have necrotizing features. There is no certainty about this figure, since in other studies the percentage does not exceed 8%.
Gangrene refers to putrefaction of dead tissueregardless of the cause that produces it. The word comes from a Greek root meaning “to gnaw”. In the case of diabetic gangrene, the specific cause of that process is diabetes.
What is Gangrene?
Gangrene is a serious infectious disease. It is characterized by the presence of edema, preeclampsia or toxemia, gas formation, and tissue necrosis or death in the affected area. If not treated immediately it can lead to death.
Gangrene appears when a wound becomes infected or the tissues are destroyed. This blocks, or severely reduces, blood flow to a certain area of the body. When this happens, infection is facilitated, almost always caused by family bacteria Clostridium perfringens.
The main cause of gangrene is the destruction of the vascular network, as an effect of freezing the blood flow. The germs act on hemoglobin and other proteins, which cause decomposition and a characteristic blackish color in the area.
What is Diabetic Gangrene?
Diabetic gangrene occurs because the body either doesn’t make enough insulin or is resistant to the effects of insulin. In this way the high blood sugar rate in the blood in the long term damage blood vessels and prevent blood flow to any part of the body.
On the other hand, Diabetes mellitus is a condition that can affect a person’s immune system. Likewise, it generates long-term nerve damage. The latter is called peripheral neuropathy. In turn, this leads to a serious decrease or loss of sensation.
Pain is a red flag that it may not work for diabetics. This, coupled with a weakened immune system, causes wounds to become infected relatively easily. All together they promote the proliferation of bacteria and other microorganisms. From there to diabetic gangrene is only one step.
Diabetics are especially vulnerable to infections in the lungs, skin, feet, urinary tract, genital area and mouth. Foot infections are very common. as these extremities are prone to knocks and bruises in daily life.
Feet and diabetic gangrene
Nearly half of people with diabetes have neuropathies in their feet.. This leads to hardening of the artery walls in this area, narrowing them and blocking the blood supply. Diabetic gangrene is the greatest risk when this condition exists.
Wagner proposed a system of Classification by severity of diabetic foot lesions. This is as follows:
- level 0. When the skin of the feet is intact.
- Level I. There is a superficial ulcer on the foot.
- Level II. The foot ulcer deepens.
- Level III. The wound involves bone or there is a deep abscess.
- Level IV. Diabetic gangrene originates in the front of the foot.
- Level V. Gangrene also covers the heels and back of the foot.
Prevention of diabetic gangrene
Considering that diabetics are more prone to gangrene, it is of great importance that preventive measures are taken to prevent this from happening. The most important of them is the Constant control of blood sugar levels.
Diabetics should also check their feet frequently. Likewise, pay attention to any abnormalities in another area of the body. Injuries or infections, even minor ones, should be grounds for medical consultation.
Likewise, it is very important that they maintain excellent foot hygiene and let them rest often. Wear proper footwear and visit your doctor at least once a year. It cannot be forgotten that diabetic gangrene can be deadly.
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