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A fungal nail infection affects the toenails and fingernails. It looks like whitish or yellowed nails that have thickened and brittle. This infection may affect a part of the nail, the entire nail, or multiple nails. When the nail fungal infection is left untreated, this may result in permanent nail damage.

Causes

More than one kind of fungus can cause nail fungal infections. Dermatophytes which is one type of fungi can cause nail fungal infections. Dermatophytes are fungal microorganisms that cannot be seen by the naked eye. These feed off keratin, a protein found on your nails.

Symptoms

The general symptoms of a nail fungal infection include nail discoloration with the nails appearing yellow, white, brown, or green, nail thickening or thinning, and nail lifting off the nail bed and crumbling.

11Who Are at Risk?

People who are older than 60 are more prone to getting infected with nail fungus. One is also at risk when you have the following conditions: diabetes, athlete’s foot, nail injury, psoriasis, poor blood circulation, and a weakened immune system.

Diagnosis

A health care professional may look at the nail to evaluate the symptoms. This initial assessment has to be backed by a lab test result to confirm the diagnosis and determine the microorganism that caused the infection.

Treatment

Your doctor will be able to explain to you all your nail fungus treatment options. These usually include oral antifungal medications and topical medications. These treatments have to be taken and used for several months up to a year. Sometimes the doctor may prescribe a combination treatment of oral and topical medications. For persistent and stubborn cases of nail fungal infection, nail removal is necessary.

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