Course:History 344 Nasty Families/Calamities/Diseases/Gangrene

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Gangrene is the death of tissue in part of the body. Gangrene happens when a body part loses its blood supply. This may happen from injury, an infection, or other causes.(1) One such cause in the times of those in Stuart England was as result of the pneumonic form of the bubonic plague, which produced gangrene in the lungs and this form depended on human proximity as opposed to fleas as in the bubonic plague. (2) The symptoms of gangrene are as follows and differ depending on the location and cause of the gangrene. Skin discoloration of blue or black, and if under the skin; red or bronze, a foul-smelling discharge, and loss of feeling in the area (may be accompanied by pain). If the affected area is inside the body, such as with the pneumonic plague, the symptoms may include confusion, fever, gas in tissues beneath the skin, general ill feeling, low blood pressure, and persistent or severe pain. (3) Since treatment for gangrene involves amputation, or removing the dead tissue, it would have depended on where the gangrene was on the body to determine if it was treatable or not.

1 PubMed Health http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0004484/ 2 Ronald H. Fritze, William B. Robison. Historical Dictionary of Stuart England, 1603-1689. 3 PubMed Health http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0004484/