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Understanding Nail Fungus

Jan 15, 2008
What is Nail Fungus

The scientific term "onychomycosis" or "tinea unguium" is commonly known as the nail fungus. This is a fungal infection that is usually seen in toenails and fingernails. At least twenty percent of all nail afflictions is covered by the nail fungus. Moreover, studies show that at least six to eight percent of the adult population is affected by tinea unguium or nail fungus.

The Signs of Nail Fungus

The first sign of fungal infection in the nails is the appearance of yellow or white spot commonly seen under the tip of the affected toenail or fingernail. Eventually, if left untreated, the fungus will go deeper into the nail. As a result, the whole nail will have discoloration, will thicken and will build crumbling that edges which can be a start of a very painful nail dilemma.

Classifications of Nail Fungus

There are actually 5 classifications of nail fungus. They vary according to the degree of moderation or severity of the nail condition.

1. The most prevalent type is the DSO or Distal Subungual Onychomycosis.

2. The rarest is the WSO or the White Superficial Onychomycosis. WSO is so rare that it is only accountable for less than ten percent of all onychomycosis cases.

3. The third type is the Promixal Subungual Onychomycosis, the second degree of nail fungus after DSO.

4. On the other hand, there's the Candidal Onychomycosis. Candida species, a type of fungi, only affects the fingernails or toenails of a person that frequently plunges his hand on the water.

5. And last but not the least, is the Total Dystrophic Onychomycosis or TDO. If there are no proper treatments given to the mentioned four classes of nail fungus, the end result is TDO.

Causes of Nail Fungus

The primary cause of nail fungal infection is the contamination made by the fungus that comes from the family of dermatophytes. Dermatophytes are fungus that affects the skin with its parasitic attribute. Moreover, nail fungal infections is also brought about by the certain type of yeast called Candida albican as well as molds that are non-dermatophyte. These fungal parasites can live in moist and warm environment. This includes places like showers and swimming pools. Since they are microscopic, they can easily penetrate the skin through the tiny distance that separates the nail bed and the nail. However, they would not immediately cause painful nail problems. It would only arise if the affected person's nails are exposed in moisture and warmth for a long time since these conditions are perfect for the breeding process of fungi.

Toenail and Fingernail Fungus

More often than not, toenails are commonly affected by nail fungus rather than the fingernails. This is because toenails are more exposed to the perfect breeding ground of fungi - the shoes. The insides of a shoe have a warm, dark, and moist surroundings. Furthermore, studies show that there is a lesser circukation of blood happening in the toes compared to the blood circulating activities in the fingers. As a result, the immune system of the body is having a hard time detecting the affected area as well as eliminating the cause of infection.
About the Author
Author is the webmaster of Nail Fungus Treatment. You may be interested in The Statistics of Nail Fungus Infection and Understanding Nail Fungus. http://www.toe-nails-fungus.com
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