How to manage dry gangrene

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Dry gangrene is an uncommon condition where some areas of the body become dry and eventually turn black due to poor flow of blood in the area. The skin and tissues may slough off when it becomes severe.

Dry gangrene usually affects the lower extremities especially the feet and hands but it can also affect the muscles, limbs, and internal organs. People suffering from conditions such as diabetes, autoimmune disease and peripheral arterial disease are susceptible to develop the condition.

Causes of dry gangrene

  • Diabetes is a condition that delays the flow of blood especially in the lower extremities which result to a non-healing wound.
  • Vascular problems such as peripheral arterial disease that lessen the supply of blood in the body.
  • Vasculitis is an autoimmune condition that cause the inflammation of the blood vessels.
  • Smoking
  • External injuries such as accidents, burns, wounds and surgeries
  • Exposure of extremities to very cold temperatures or frostbite
  • Improper treatment of a bacterial infection can result to death of the tissues


  • Claudication or cramping of the legs while walking
  • Numbness and coldness of the affected area and skin looks shriveled
  • Discoloration of the affected area. The area becomes purple, red, and pale and eventually becomes black if left untreated.
  • Dryness of the area
  • Pain

In case symptoms, such as low blood pressure, confusion, fever, lightheadedness and shortness of breath are present, it is vital to seek immediate treatment.


Dry gangrene
Dry gangrene usually affects the lower extremities especially the feet and hands but it can also affect the muscles, limbs, and internal organs.
  • Quit smoking to prevent blockage of blood flow to the blood vessels and gangrene. When blood stops flowing, the tissues will die and result to gangrene.
  • Consume a high protein but low in fat diet to avoid clogging of arteries. High protein foods include fish, turkey, cheese, lean pork and beef, tofu, eggs, beans and peanuts. Add dark leafy green vegetable to the diet. Protein rebuilds the damaged muscles.
  • Consume foods high in germanium and other antioxidants. Germanium is an antioxidant that improves the function of oxygen in the body and enhances the immune system. Foods rich in germanium include onions, garlic, whole wheat flour, shiitake mushrooms, green leafy vegetables as well as aloe vera.
  • If suffering from diabetes, minimize the intake of sugar. Regular checking of the extremities for any signs of cuts, redness, swelling or infections and should be treated properly. Watch for symptoms such as numbness in the arms, legs, fingers and toes since these are indications of improper blood circulation and affects the blood vessels.
  • Perform regular exercises such as walking on a treadmill for at least 30-40 minutes at 3-4 times in a week to lessen the symptoms of claudication or painful cramping of the legs due to improper flow of blood in the area.

Disclaimer / More Information

The material posted on this page on dry gangrene is for learning purposes only. Learn to recognize and manage circulatory conditions by taking a first aid and CPR class with one of our training providers.

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