What Else Can Fingernails Tell A Dermatologist About Your Health
Nails say a lot about your health. Your dermatologist can look for changes in the nail texture, brittleness, lunula , overall shape and color of your nails.
Seeing changes in the shape and color of nails can mean chronic lung or heart diseases. Sometimes whitening might indicate kidney or heart disease. Brittleness alerts us to consider if the thyroid is working properly or if the person may have anemia. If theres clubbing of the tip of the nail and texture changes, there could be an underlying lung problem. If I see concerning nail symptoms, I will look into it further. Often dermatologists are the first doctors to notice not-yet-diagnosed health problems.
Also, if you notice a new brown or black stripe, theres a risk of melanoma under the nailor it may just be a freckle or due to a nail infection or inflammation. Its important to understand that most melanomas under the nail are not caused by sun damage, but by random mutationsif you have one, you just got unlucky.
New stripes going down the nail need to be checked out by a dermatologist. A red stripe or lifting of nail from the nail bed could indicate another type of skin cancer.
Yale Medicine is unique in that our staff includes highly trained dermatologists also trained in pathology, called dermatopathologists, who look under the microscope to confirm whether the problem is a nail fungus or another skin disease such as melanoma or another skin cancer. And if so, they help us make the right diagnosis.
What Is The Outlook For Someone With Toenail Fungus
While toenail fungus is common, its usually not harmful. Symptoms mostly affect the look of your toenail.
Toenail fungus may spread to the skin between your toes or other areas of your body. When getting dressed, put your socks on first to reduce the chance of spread.
Treating toenail fungus takes a long time, and it doesnt always work. Even then, toenail fungus often returns. Discuss the pros and cons of treating toenail fungus with your provider to determine whats best for you.
Practicing good hygiene and foot care reduces the chance toenail fungus will come back. If you have diabetes, getting regular foot exams may help you address foot problems before they get serious.
Stop This Skin Infection In Its Tracks With These Over
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Verywell / Sabrina Jiang
Toenail fungus is a common fungal condition that often starts after a rash on the foot spreads to the nails. When mild, it looks like white and yellow spots growing under the nail beds. But if left untreated, the fungus can grow severely by hardening the nails and spreading to other toes.
The fungus often begins in the form of athletes foot between the toes or on the soles of the feet. At this stage, the fungal infection is easier to treat with over-the-counter medication. But Shari Lipner, MD, a board-certified dermatologist at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medicine, told Verywell Health toenail fungus can be difficult to treat because of how slow the nails grow. The more severe the toenail fungus, the thicker the nail, and the more nails involved makes it that much harder to treat the nails even with effective therapies, she says.
Diagnosing the fungal infection early is key to make treatments effective. Dr. Lipner recommends visiting a board-certified dermatologist to properly treat the infection if it grows to be too severe.
Here are a few of the best over-the-counter toenail fungus treatments on the market.
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What Tests Might I Have For Toenail Fungus
Your provider will probably take a small sample from underneath your nail to further analyze it. Viewing the cells under a microscope can confirm a toenail fungus diagnosis. If the initial test is negative, a scraping can be sent to see if the fungus grows out in a culture. It also helps your provider identify the type of fungus.
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How To Heal Nail Fungus At Home
Conventional treatments for nail fungus involve various antifungal creams, ointments, and oral medications. Oral antifungal medications can have significant side-effects. Be sure not to take them if youre pregnant or breastfeeding.
Laser treatment can be performed to remove nail fungus, but its expensive, and there are doubts as to whether its really effective. Its not normally covered by insurance.
Thankfully, there are also a number of useful natural remedies that can solve the problem. Before using any of these remedies, trim your nails so that the remedy has the best chance of working.
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Signs And Symptoms Of Green Nail Syndrome
The Characteristic Features Of Green Nail Syndrome Are Mentioned Below:
- The nail stops growing when affected with green nail syndrome.
- A characteristic appearance of green and thickened nail instead of a normal appearing nail is one of the most common sign and symptom of green nail syndrome.
- The nail when affected with this syndrome will be excessively curved.
- Loss of the strip of hardened skin at the base and sides of a fingernail or cuticles may also occur once affected with green nail syndrome.
- In this case, the nail will be separated from the nail bed and might start falling out in worst cases.
- In some of the cases, the nail bed and the soft tissue is also affected. The entire soft tissue or the soft tissue at the edge of the nails is affected in many cases. And both toenails and finger nails can be affected by the condition.
- Green nail syndrome is also found to be present in greater frequency in individuals with certain forms of cancer and other conditions/disorders like immunodeficiency syndromes, nephritic syndrome, thyroid disease, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Acrylic Nail Fungus Home Remedies
The first step after noticing an infection is to have the acrylic nail removed and to wash your fingernail with soap and water. Avoid putting on a new nail until the infection clears.
Anecdotally, some people claim the following home remedies have helped them clear their infection:
- Vinegar. Vinegar contains acid that can inhibit the growth of fungi and bacteria. Try soaking your finger in a 2:1 ratio of warm water to vinegar.
- Vicks VapoRub. An older 2011 study found Vicks VapoRub seemed to have a positive clinical effect on killing toenail fungi. You can try applying a small amount to your finger once a day.
- Tea tree oil. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health , one small study found evidence that tea tree oil may help treat nail fungus, but more research is needed. Try applying oil to your nail twice per day.
- Oregano oil. The chemical thymol found in oregano oil may have antifungal properties. Try applying oregano oil to your nail twice per day with a cotton swab.
- Listerine mouthwash. Listerine contains ingredients that have antifungal properties. Some people claim soaking your finger in original Listerine for 30 minutes a day may help clear the infection.
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Using Baking Soda For Acrylic Fungus
For many years, baking soda has been an effective treatment for nail fungus, even if it is caused by the acrylic nails.
All you have to do is make a hand or foot soak mixed with a tablespoon of baking soda. It will gradually heal the nail fungus. The estimated healing time with the baking soda is almost 7 months.
If you find the nail fungus treatment with baking soda tough, think of using the baking soda paste. Mix the baking soda with an essential oil like the snakeroot extract, or any other ionized oil, and apply it twice a day.
Another amazing thing to treat nail fungus is putting a few pinches of baking soda in the gloves, and killing the already present fungus spores.
Can I Prevent Fingernail Fungus
There is no way to 100% prevent a fungal infection from happening. But, knowing the possible causes can help to lower your risk. Its not always as easy to get fingernail fungus as toenail fungus. This is because fingernails arent usually covered, making it harder for moisture to get trapped.
One way to trap that moisture, though, is with acrylic nails. They are a great way to make your fingernails look manicured and perfect. But, they arent great for the general health of the nail. Some people are also more prone to fungal infections than others. If you already know you can get infections easily, its best to stay away from gel manicures and fake nails.
If you do get fingernail fungus, you should take the right steps to prevent it from spreading. Fungal infections spread quickly and easily. Wash your hands frequently, making sure to dry them completely each time. Avoid touching other areas of your body with your hands. This can cause the infection to spread to other locations.
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Deformed Or Brittle Nails
A violent toe-stubbing, dropping a heavy object on the toe or some other trauma can injure the nail bed and cause the nail to grow in a deformed way. The nail may be thickened or ridged. It is a normal ageing process for nails to thicken.Deformed or brittle toenails can benefit from regular professional attention. Trimming, shaping and nail care from a podiatrist can improve the health of your toenails and help diagnose and treat more serious nail problems.
Why Treat Fungal Nail Infections
Fungal nail infection is a progressive disease. If it is left untreated the infection spreads. Initially you may only see white spots or patches on the nail. They only affect the cosmetic appearance of the nail and initially there is no pain. If your nail is showing symptoms it is important to take immediate action as the fungus will gradually spread throughout the nail. If left untreated you will run the risk of the nail becoming brittle and a possibility that you may loose the nail. The infection can spread between fingernail and toenails and from one person to another.
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Factors That Increase The Risk Of Nail Fungus
- Wearing tight shoes all day. Sandals are better try to wear them when you can.
- Playing a lot of sports. Long-distance running or any other endurance sport can make your feet very sweaty. Remaining in that state for a long period of time puts you at high risk.
- Not changing your socks frequently enough. Socks can absorb moisture and create a breeding ground for fungus.
- Athletes foot. The fungus that causes this condition can spread to your nails.
- A humid environment. This makes it easy for you to develop fungus on both your fingernails and toenails.
- Damage to the nail particularly if it occurs regularly. Wounds are especially prone to infection.
- Going barefoot in communal areas. In places such as locker rooms and around swimming pools, its better to wear flip-flops.
- Using artificial nails. They can cause an allergic reaction or wear down the nails, making them more vulnerable.
Onychomycosis is the proper term for nail fungus. Common symptoms are thickened, brittle, and discolored nails.
Whats The Best Way To Control Psoriasis
Everyones case of psoriasis is different, which means treatment will be different for every person. However, some of the best treatments for psoriasis seem to include a combination of lifestyle changes, home remedies, and prescription medications. This article contains information on treatments and medications. Using this article in combination with a consultation from your doctor can help you find the best way to control psoriasis.
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Top 12 Home Remedies To Get Rid Of Nail Fungus Naturally
Commonly known to the layman as fungal nail infection, Onychomycosis is an infection that occurs when fungus forms beneath the nails. The condition can develop as a result of poor foot hygiene, continuous exposure to moist environments, wearing unbreathable synthetic socks, accumulation of sweat in shoes, imbalanced pH levels of the skin, a compromised immune system, and conditions like diabetes that constricts blood flow.Upon infection, Onychomycosis will cause the nail to thicken, discolor, and eventually crumble into pieces. If left untreated, the condition can become painful. As the infection progresses, areas around the infected toenails or fingernails may swell and begin to give off a foul smell too.
Acrylic Nail Fungus Symptoms
If you are an acrylic nail lover, it is imperative for you to understand the symptoms of Acrylic nails fungus first. So, that you may rush to the treatment on the slightest symptoms. Otherwise, you may lose the entire nail.
Below are the commons symptoms that you can note if you get fungus on your nails.
- Discoloration. Your nail may turn whitish, yellow or green. In severe cases it will become black, if not treated on time.
- A slight pain around your nail. This is the time when the fungus has started growing under the nail.
- Redness around your nail.
- Itchiness that may feel like burning
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Toenail Fungus Prescription Medications
Sometimes prescription medications are needed to treat a toenail infection that just wont go away with natural remedies or over-the-counter medication in a few months. In this case, prescription-strength antifungal medication can eradicate stubborn onychomycosis.
Topical medications often are effective in treating mild to moderate toenail fungus. Topical solutions may include medicated nail polishes or liquid medications. Loprox , Penlac , Kerydin , and Jublia are among the top prescription drugs for toenail fungus.
Oral medications can come in capsules, tablets, or liquid. Some common prescriptions are Diflucan , Lamisil , Onmel , and Sporanox .
Acrylic Nails And Gns
There is a close relationship between acrylic nails and green nail syndrome. It is common to find someone who has artificial nails having a green nail infection. This is because of various reasons. One of them is that during the placement of the artificial nails, it is possible that the nail surface is not sanitized well before attaching the nail. Use of buffers and files that are not properly sanitized may also lead to the occurrence of the infection. In these two cases, bacteria may spread to the natural nail. Another way is when the artificial nail may be knocked off, thus leaving an opening through which bacteria may get in. With this in mind, it is crucial for hygiene to be maintained during manicures and when using artificial nails.
We should also note that if someone has artificial nails may also be affected by fungi, also known as acrylic nail fungus.
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Is Toenail Fungus Really Such A Problem
If youre thinking you can just live with it, we dont advise letting toenail fungus go untreated. Its an insidious problem, and without treatment, you have to deal with the discomfort of the nail as well as feeling self-conscious about its unsightliness.
If you let a nail fungus infection go for too long, several problems emerge. The infected nail can become misshapen and increasingly separated from your nail bed. Itching and pain are unpleasant side effects if theyre too severe, you can have trouble wearing shoes or walking.
You need to be especially attentive to treating toenail fungus if your immune system is compromised. If youre living with diabetes, its critical not to ignore the fungus. Even a mild infection like this can snowball into something more serious, like cellulitis, a severe bacterial skin infection.
Another problem is that untreated fungus eventually can spread to either neighboring toenails or to the skin of your foot, causing athletes foot. Possibly the worst outcome of untreated nail fungus is needing to have your nail surgically removed.
Are You Confident Of The Diagnosis
What you should be alert for in the history
Green nail syndrome is caused by infection with Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Patients likely have a history of prolonged exposure to water or detergents , or an ungual trauma.
Characteristic findings on physical examination
On physical examination, there is characteristic greenish or greenish-black discoloration of the nailfold with proximal chronic paronychia and distolateral onycholysis . A small portion of the nail may be involved or the entire nail itself. Most patients will only have involvement of one nail. On occasion, the nail adjacent to the primarily infected nail will have some secondary evidence of infection. Green striping of the nail has also been reported.
Coinfection with Trichophytan rubrum and Pseudomonas, a common occurrence.
Expected results of diagnostic studies
Diagnostic studies are typically unnecessary. Gram stain and culture of any exudates and/or ungual fragments may confirm the diagnosis however, culture can be negative, as the green discoloration may be found a distance away from the infected site.
A pigment solubility test might also be performed, by submerging a sample of the affected nail in 1mL of distilled water. The liquid will turn a bluish-green color within 24 hours if there is a present infection with P. aeruginosa. Woods light examination will occasionally show a yellow-green fluorescence, which is characteristic of Pseudomonas.
What is the Cause of the Disease?
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How Can I Tell If I Have Toenail Fungus
Toenail fungus usually starts subtly, so you might not notice anything different with your nail immediately. After a while, though, you see some noticeable differences that indicate a fungal condition. Nails become:
Because a nail infected with a fungus is compromised, it can also break or split easily. As the condition progresses, itchiness and pain can occur, and the nail becomes separated from the nail bed.