Nail FungusNail fungus is an infection that gets up under your nails. While it can infect both your fingernails and your toenails, toenail fungus is more common. You likely examine your fingernails on a daily basis, but your toenails regularly disappear into your shoes and socks for most of the day. In addition, this fungus grows faster in damp locations. So you’re more likely to get nail diseases and fungal infections in your toenails. If your nail fungus infection — known in medical circles as onychomycosis — doesn’t look too bad or bother you, it’s probably not dangerous. But you do need nail fungus treatment if your nail is discolored or impaired. A visit to your Manhattan dermatologist can put you on the path toward resolving your nail issues.
Signs That You Have Nail FungusIn bad cases of nail fungus, you can actually see the damage the fungal infection is causing. Your nail may look:
- Yellowed or discolored
- Brittle or fragile
- Unusually thick
- Deteriorating around the edges
- Disattaching from the nail bed
Who’s at Risk for Getting Fungal Nail Diseases?Anyone at any age can get fingernail and toenail fungus infections, given the right set of fungus-friendly circumstances. Older adults seem to be more susceptible because of the age of their nails. Aging toenails dry out, becoming more brittle. If a nail cracks, it provides an entry point for existing fungus. It doesn’t help that older people also suffer from impaired blood circulation to their legs and feet. Our doctors are best-in-class board certified physicians. Please call for an appointment.There are several factors that can increase your risk of getting nail diseases like fungal infections, such as:
- Older adults get toenail fungus more often than younger people.
- This disease weakens your immune system and impairs your circulation. If you have diabetes, a toenail infection can lead to more serious medical conditions.
- Constant scratching. If you have a history of skin rashes like athlete’s foot, you’re more likely to get a fungal infection under your toenails.
- Since fungus likes a damp, warm environment, it likes people who sweat a lot.
- Skin conditions. If you suffer from psoriasis, and psoriatic nails it can be portal of entry for a fungal infection.
- Even a minor cut near your nail or a crack in your nail can encourage nail diseases.
The Causes of Fingernail and Toenail FungusA fungus is a living organism that lives all around us. Only about half of all fungi are harmful to humans, and most fungal infections occur in people with weakened or suppressed immune systems. Fungal infections are nail diseases similar to athlete’s foot. In fact, athlete’s foot can lead to toenail fungus. If you spend time in gyms, locker rooms or public pools, wear clean footwear. Fungus lives in these moist areas. The most common fungi that cause infections are:
Oral Nail Fungus TreatmentBy the time you visit your NYC dermatologist’s office, your nail fungus is likely easy to diagnose with a visual examination. Your dermatology NYC doctor may cut a sample from your nail or scrape some material from under the nail to send to a laboratory for analysis. Your treatment may change, based on what type of fungus is infecting your nails: dermatophytes, molds or yeasts. Your doctor may start your nail fungus treatment by prescribing antifungal medication taken orally. And that’s where your treatment often stops, although you have to take the drugs for up to three months. The fungus that causes nail diseases can be difficult to reach, which is why oral medication often works best. But it’s a slow process can even take four months or longer to completely resolve.
Other Nail Fungus Treatment OptionsIf oral medications aren’t an option for you, other treatments exist such as:
- Prescription-strength nail cream or polish
Averting Danger to Your HealthIf you’re in the New York City area, have nail diseases treated by a top Manhattan dermatologist. If left untreated, your fingernail or toenail fungus can permanently injure your nails. The fungal infection can even spread to other parts of your body. As a precaution, wash your hands and feet every day and especially after exercising. Inspect your nails and keep them properly trimmed. Wear shoes that allow your feet to breathe. If you’re conscious of the danger, you can avoid nail diseases like toenail fungus.
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