Gangrene — A Dangerous Sign of PAD
Do you or a loved one have blackened areas or ulcers on your feet or toes? These are not just effects of old age — and they should not be ignored. In fact, this could be a sign you have gangrene.
Gangrene is the localized death of body tissue, due to a loss of blood supply. This infection can be a serious complication of peripheral arteryArteries are blood vessels that carry oxygen-rich blood to your heart and other parts of your body. disease (PAD).
Gangrene is often a sign of critical limb ischemia (CLI), a severe form of PAD. Talk to a doctor now if you suspect you have this limb- and life-threatening problem.
Symptoms of Gangrene
Gangrene is caused when you have restricted blood flow due to infection, injury or a chronic disease. Tissues will die from a lack of oxygen. CLI may be the culprit because it causes plaque buildup in your arteries and a reduction in blood circulation to the legs and feet. Without that circulation, the legs or feet are losing oxygen.
Symptoms of gangrene you should know about include:19
- Dry and shriveled skin
- Color changes – from blue to black
- Skin that feels cold and numb
- A clear line between the healthy and damaged skin
- A foul-smelling discharge from a leaking sore
- Severe pain near the affected part of the leg, foot or toe
Don’t Risk Amputation
Patients with CLI that goes untreated are at risk for amputation due to gangrenous tissue. Even worse, CLI can put your life at risk.4
The amputation rate for CLI patients is estimated to be 25%.5 Fortunately, treatment may be able to lessen the amount of amputation that is necessary — or even prevent amputation altogether.
For More Information
Pay attention to changes in your body. Talk to your doctor as soon as possible if you see any signs of gangrene. Only a healthcare professional can diagnose gangrene.
Explore our website to learn more about all of the symptoms of PAD including gangrene, and use our Find a Doctor tool to locate a PAD specialist.