Half of the cases of nail disorders are caused by nail fungus which is also known as onychomycosis. This is also known as the most common nail disease experienced by adults. Toenails are more susceptible to nail fungus than fingernails. A large percentage of nail fungal infections are mainly caused by diabetes and old age. Older adults or those older than 60 years old are more prone to the infection than children.
What causes the infection?
Three primary organisms cause nail infections. These are fungi that thrive on your skin, hair, nails, yeasts, and molds. All these three microorganisms cause almost the same early and chronic symptoms or changes in nail appearances. This makes it difficult to figure out the cause of the infection, requiring a clinical diagnosis.
What are some signs of infection?
A nail fungal infection may exhibit symptoms but they can be too mild to be noticed. Usually, the nail thickens, making it difficult to trim the nail. The nail may also change in color becoming white, yellow, green, or brown. The nail may also become brittle, crumbly, and ragged on the edges. In some cases, the nail may lift off the nail bed. The nail may also be painful and discomforting, making it difficult to walk or even wear shoes.
How is it diagnosed?
The doctor usually asks for a nail sample to be sent to a lab for microscopy. This will determine the microorganism that caused the infection. The result of the lab test may help determine the treatment required for the infection.
What are some treatments?
Most doctors prescribe an oral antifungal as a nail fungus treatment. This is particularly true when the infection spreads from one toenail to the others. For milder cases, an alternative treatment would be a topical antifungal that has to be applied directly to the infected nail. For severe and stubborn cases, the doctor may suggest nail removal.
2All about Cat’s Claw
Cat’s claw (scientific name Uncaria tomentosa) is a vine that grows in a tropical climate. It can grow up to 98 feet or 30 meters. The name comes from the hooked thorns that resemble the claws of a cat. Primarily, it is found in the Amazon forest and also in other tropical areas of South and Central America. There are two common varieties of the cat’s claw. These are Uncaria guianensis and Uncaria tomentosa.
The root and bark of a cat’s claw have been used in South America for centuries as a traditional medicine for a number of conditions like cancer, inflammation, and infections. Supplements made from this plant can be in capsule, tea, powder, and liquid extract forms.