10 Horrifying Facts About Dying From Gangrene
The symptoms of gangrene are body horror of the highest order. Even with that knowledge, people still wonder what it's like to die of gangrene. Symptoms can range from minor annoyances to lethal complications, and the process can take much longer than you might guess. So, if you've ever wondered what suffering from gangrene is like, here's plenty of horrifying and graphic detail.
Dying from gangrene is very different than dying of thirst, drowning, or being burned alive. It's a slow decline as your limbs rot and die, and your organs go bad from the inside out. The process is terrifying, of course, but what happens when you have gangrene is also truly fascinating. You know, if you're into that sort of thing.
You'll Start To Smell Awful
The smell of rotting meat is horrible and specific. So specific, in face, you can probably feel it in your nostrils right now. Now imagine that odor is attached to your body and you can never get away from it, because that's what's happens when you suffer from gangrene.
Blisters may open up on your body that leak pus and smell strongly of decay. If the gangrene has spread to your intestines or stomach, that odor can leak into them as well. Because of this, your bowel movements, burps, and even your breath are bound to reek of dying flesh.
Your Flesh And Bones Will Literally DiePhoto: National Library of Medicine - History of Medicine / flickr / No known copyright restrictions
Gangrene infections don't stop with the skin. That would be too easy. After your flesh turns black, the necrosis begins to spread deeper into the body. Your blood vessels stop working, your nerve endings die, and then your bones stop functioning. That means that whole fingers, hands, and limbs can die while still attached to your body in a process called mummification.
Surprisingly, that didn't make it into that one Brendan Fraiser movie. You know, Bedazzled.
Infected Parts Of Your Body Will Turn Red
The initial stages of gangrene are not all that alarming. Whether it's wet or dry, the first thing that tends to happen is that the area begins to swell up and turn colors. The area might turn pale from lack of blood, but the inflammation that follows tends to be pink or red and puffy.
That isn't the last color change you'll suffer through, unfortunately.
You'll Lose Feeling Or Start Tingling In Your Extremeties
This symptom is particularly notable in the fingers and toes, but it can happen wherever gangrene is causing damage. It's a non-discriminatory disease. After initial pain, you may notice that the feeling starts to fade, replaced by that horrible sensation of pins and needles. Complete numbness soon follows.
It might be nice that the pain is fading, but numbness is just a symptom of nerve endings, flesh, and muscles slowly dying.
The Area Will Get Blackened And Blistered
As gangrene progresses, the skin color changes get more extreme. New sores open up on your body, even as the initial wound is healing. The reddening spreads across the skin and gets deeper in color. That intense red hue ultimately becomes brown and leathery, and blisters bubble up on your limbs and extremities.
Then, at last, your limbs turn black and shrivel up. The blackened flesh will no longer be salvageable and must be removed. It's exactly as pleasant as it sounds.
You'll Either Get A Fever Or Your Temperature Will Drop
Even as you start to get really bad, when your body starts to grow smelly pus blisters and you feeling aches as your organs are attacked, your body will still attempt to save you. This results in you having a fever as your body fights off the infection. And if the gangrene is getting deadly, the fever is probably going to be quite high and untreatable through normal means.
Weirdly enough, people occasionally exhibit a temperature that's lower than normal as well, though that tends to happen in much later stages. Either way, doctors say that if you are feeling unwell, have had a bad injury or infection, and show a fever, then it's time to come in for treatment. You don't want to gamble against gangrene. The house always wins.