Nail Disorders

Nail Disorders

Nail Disorders
A fungal infection, typically on the toenails, is the most common nail disorder. People with diabetes, those who wear tight-fitting shoes and those who get a lot of manicures or pedicures are most susceptible. An infected nail will be painful and discolored, with a brownish-black band. The nail also might show scars, pits, ridges or lesions. Anti-fungal medication can treat the nail. To avoid infection, keep toenails short, discard old footwear and don't go barefoot around public showers and pools.

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    Practicing good hygiene and changing your habits may prevent certain causes of nail disorders. If you have diabetes, it is especially important to take care of your nails. Try to break the habits of biting, picking, or rubbing at your nails. Keep your nails clean and dry as often as possible. Trim nails in a straight line to prevent them from curving into your skin. Clip hangnails and bandage open cuts or tears in the nail that may allow infection into the nail area. You should make it a point to keep toenails trim; this reduces the chance for injury.

    Get rid of shoes that are too tight or constricting to decrease ingrown toenails and spread of fungus among toes. Wear shower shoes in public pools and locker rooms to decrease your risk of coming in contact with fungi and bacteria. To prevent peeling and brittle nails, don't use nail polish and regularly apply a lotion with vitamins to promote healthy nails and cuticles.

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    Nail disorders are commonly diagnosed through physical exam and lab tests. A physical exam will often consist of looking at the color of the nail, feeling the texture, and comparing the thickness of the affected nail to that of the other nails. The doctor will likely ask about medical history, other symptoms present, use of nail products, and any medications you take. A sample of the nail may be taken and examined in a lab to diagnose the cause of the nail disorder. If an illness or deficiency is suspected that could be causing the problem, a blood test or X-rays may be done.
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    A , Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease), answered
    Symptoms of nail disorders include slow-growing nails, nail ridges, nail spooning, brittle nails, unusually thick nails that separate easily from the nail bed and look yellow or green, and discolorations in the nails that include white spots, black spots, red streaks, or a whitish color. If symptoms appear in only one nail, the cause is likely due to an injury to the nail. If symptoms appear in all fingernails and toenails, the symptoms may be due to a medical problem that needs treatment by a doctor.
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    A , Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease), answered
    Red discoloration under your fingernails can be caused by a number of conditions, some of which could be serious. Talk with your doctor or dermatologist about what may be causing the redness. Some conditions that can lead to a red or brown discoloration under your nails include the following:
    • A splinter hemorrhage. This vertical red or brown line under the nail can be caused by an injury, fungal infection, or nail psoriasis, or can be a sign of a heart condition.
    • Heart failure. This can cause redness in the white half moon at the bottom of your nail.
    • Kidney disease. This can cause the nails to have a reddish appearance beneath the surface.
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    A , Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease), answered
    Ridges in your fingernails can simply be a sign that you are growing older, or they can be a symptom of an underlying medical condition.

    Vertical ridges in the nail are common and often increase with age. Horizontal ridges in your nails can be a sign of iron-deficiency anemia or other health conditions. Experts recommend talking to your doctor if you develop unexplained ridges on your nails. 
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    A answered

    If your toenails look thick and yellowish, you probably have an infection called onychomycosis. These infections are usually caused by a fungus but can also be caused by yeast. Those of the fungal kind, which claim about 90 percent of toenail infections, can be transmitted by direct contact or by contact with objects such as clothing, shoes, nail clippers, nail files, shower and locker-room floors, and carpets. While they are not brought on by stress, they can stress you out due to their beauty-busting presence. People who get this in their fingernails tend to have a bigger problem than those who only have it on their feet. I understand how annoying it can be, and it’s certainly not something you want to live with forever, much less spread to other nails in you and your family. Unfortunately, topical treatments usually don’t do the job, but an antifungal prescription under your doctor’s supervision such as Sporanox, Lamisil, or Diflucan that kills the wily beasts from the inside out can help do the trick. (And wear flip-flops in those germy public showers.)

    From The Mind-Beauty Connection: 9 Days to Less Stress, Gorgeous Skin, and a Whole New You by Amy Wechsler.

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    Talk to your doctor if you are experiencing symptoms of a nail disorder including, pain or discomfort related to your nail. Some of the symptoms that require medical attention are:
     
    -  White or blue nails
    -  Clubbed or distorted nails
    -  Pale/white or black lines
    -  Pain or swelling around a nail
    -  Horizontal ridges or dents
     
    Changes in your nail can relate to other conditions that affect your organs. Kidney disease, lung disease, and liver disease are just a few of the diseases that create nail disorders as a symptom of a larger underlying issue. If you have splinter hemorrhages (red lines in the bed of the nail), you should see you doctor right away. These are caused by heart valve infections.
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    A , Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease), answered

    Your doctor can prescribe several medications to treat a nail infection depending on its severity. Oral antifungal medication or antifungal nail polishes can both help with mild to moderate infections.

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    Many nail disorders will resolve without treatment when the nail grows out, the trauma heals, or the use of medication causing the nail disorder is discontinued. However, if your doctor feels that your disorder requires treatment, options will be limited by what is causing the nail disorder.

    Nail disorders caused by infection will require regular trimming of the nail, topical medication may be applied by soaking the finger in a solution. Or medication can be put on in the form of an antifungal or steroid ointment and secured by a bandage. In some cases antibiotics will also be necessary.

    If a wart is causing your nail disorder, your doctor may try to treat the wart by injecting it with medication or freezing it off. Clear nail polish with strengthening properties or bitter taste may be recommended to help nail growth or deter biting of the nails. When treating an ingrown toenail, your doctor may prescribe antibiotic ointment for any infection that may have occurred. Sometimes all you will need to do is change your shoes or socks to reduce tightness and the exposure to moist areas that are causing the nail disorder.

    Treatment of nail disorders may be a slow process given the leisurely pace at which nails grow. Depending on the thickness of the nail, topical treatments may take awhile to penetrate the layers and begin treating the problem.

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    Treatment for nail disorders is often successful but can be a long process. Half of all nail disorders are caused by fungal infection and most fungal infections are curable. Treatment may require daily application of antifungal ointment or antifungal nail polish, but once the affected part of the nail has grown out the nail disorder is often cured. Nails take anywhere from 6 months to 18 months to grow out, with toenails taking the longest.
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