Here are a few suggestions to help you reduce your risk of developing gangrene:

  • Care for your diabetes. If you have diabetes, make sure you examine your hands and feet daily for cuts, sores and signs of infection, such as redness, swelling or drainage. Ask your doctor to examine your hands and feet at least once a year.
  • Lose weight. Excess pounds not only put you at risk of diabetes, but also place pressure on your arteries, constricting blood flow and putting you at risk of infection and slow wound healing.
  • Don't use tobacco. The chronic use of tobacco products can damage your blood vessels.
  • Help prevent infections. Wash any open wounds with a mild soap and water and try to keep them clean and dry until they heal.
  • Watch out when the temperature drops. Frostbitten skin can lead to gangrene, because frostbite reduces blood circulation in an affected area. If you notice that any area of your skin has become pale, hard, cold and numb after prolonged exposure to cold temperatures, call your doctor.
Aug. 10, 2011