Toenail fungus is one of the most common problems suffered by millions of people around the world. In fact, in a recent study by the American Academy of Dermatology they have stated that at least 12% of U.S. citizens are affected by fungal infections on their toenails. While bacteria are common in the human body, fungus has a habit of spreading quickly over the affected area. Toenail fungus can be the root of several other problems which is why it must be treated as soon as possible.
The toenail fungus or onychomycosis has two main types that can affect a person, the first is yeast or Candida and the second one is called dermatophytes. Dermatophytes are pointed as the most common form of fungi that affects the toenails.
Symptoms to Look Out for
There are several symptoms to look out for if you believe that you are developing fungal infection in your toenails. Some of the more easily distinguished symptoms include discoloration, brittle appearance of the toenail and dulled surface. The toenail can also develop a misshapen form that allows debris to easily enter within the nail and get lodged which further complicates the infection.
Worst case scenario comes when the toenail itself becomes detached and feels as if it will fall off.
It is important that you take the proper steps in treating toenail fungal infections the moment you see any type of symptoms as once fully developed the infection can be quite hard to eliminate permanently. Consult your doctor immediately to get the right prescription medications.
If the toenail fungal infection is not treated immediately it can lead to some serious health risks that would cause permanent damage to the nail and even spread over to the skin. Pain will also be a common occurrence once the infection worsens. These complications can develop if the infection is not treated properly or if the individual has a current health condition that leaves their immune system weak. People who have leukemia or those who recently just had organ transplant will more likely have a lower immune system which can leave them open to fungal infections. Keep in mind that there are also medications that can cause your body’s immune system to weaken temporarily.
People who have high blood sugar or diabetic are more prone to complications in their lower extremities such as those caused by toenail infections. As diabetes can severely hinder blood circulation over their feet, the nerves can be weakened and thus make it more susceptible to infections. The biggest problem here is that diabetes can increase the risk of fungal infections to the point that it can be a high risk condition that might threaten the patient’s life. Diabetics are also more likely to develop bacterial skin infections that have the potential to be a serious health risk such as cellulitis.
Fungal paronychia is also cited as one of the more serious fungal toenail complications. The symptoms attributed with paronychia are swelling and redness around the area of the affected toenail. If left untreated, paronychia can develop into more a more serious condition that is known to spread to the tendons, bloodstream and bones.
Toenail fungal infection may appear to be quite harmless at first but that is not reason for you to ignore it as it can develop into a more serious health complication. If you discern that you are suffering from fungal infection then it is best to consult your doctor to find out the necessary steps to take to keep it from spreading and treating it during its early stages.