Fungal diseases of the skin and nails belong to the group of human infectious diseases caused by disease-causing fungi. Fungal infections (mycoses) are different. There are very serious forms of infections with a high mortality rate. However, few people suffer from them. Nail ringworm is not one of them and it is impossible to die directly from it. But fungal infection of the skin and nails is one of the most common fungal diseases. It is a contagious disease that spreads from person to person.
What does nail fungus look like?
Many people do not pay attention to changes in the nail plates, often considering these changes as a consequence of trauma or age characteristics. Fungal nail diseases have many different manifestations. But, as a rule, changes in nails with fungal diseases have three main manifestations: changes in the color of the nail plate, its thickening, disintegration or destruction.
Fungus or not fungus?
Then, you may notice some changes in the skin or nail plates. It remains to be decided if it is a fungus or not.
There are many non-fungal skin and nail diseases - several hundred names. However, according to statistics, every second nail disease is fungal. In other words, if your nails are changed, the chance of having nail fungus is 50%, regardless of any manifestations and factors. But what about skin diseases on the feet? They obey the same laws of probability. That is, most skin lesions on the feet are fungal. Remember that untreated fungus on the skin of your feet will sooner or later turn into fungus on your nails. And it's not that easy to get rid of nail fungus. Don't be fooled. If you suspect you have a skin or nail disease, contact your mycologist!
Despite the fact that most nail changes turn out to be a fungus, another nature of these changes must be taken into account. Here it is necessary to highlight, first, the chronic trauma of the nails. Nail changes can occur with some common skin diseases, internal infectious diseases, nervous, endocrine, cardiovascular system damage, various types of intoxication, as well as dystrophy. Finally, nail changes can be congenital. These nail changes are apparently similar to fungal infections, but they are not. Treatment with antifungal drugs for non-fungal nail diseases, of course, will not be successful. That's another reason to see a mycologist and not try to heal because of nail changes.
Can you recognize a fungus on your nails?
No you can not! And no professional doctor, however experienced, will treat a fungal disease without confirming the diagnosis in the laboratory, even with the most typical signs of fungal in the legs. Laboratory confirmation is a prerequisite for any fungal disease. Simply put, if the lab finds a fungus on a skin flake or a piece of a nail taken out for analysis, then this is a fungal disease.
Dilemma: to treat or not to treat a fungus?
Some people have doubts whether it is worth taking a nail fungus treatment. Many argue the following: Does treating a fungal disease require money? Requires. How long does it take to be treated? Maybe for a long time. So really, why bother being treated for ringworm? It's all the same as the nails are changed, because they can finally be hidden. . .
Is this game worth it? Why do you need treatment for ringworm? Let's try to understand this question. . . Once started, the fungal infection won't go anywhere until the fungus is destroyed. Fungi are very tenacious and can survive for months on the fallen scales of the skin. What, then, can you expect from the fungus that hides in nails? First, the fungus cells enter the skin, attach themselves, multiply and spread over it, and then, under favorable conditions, are introduced into the nail. Over time, the fungus affects all parts of the nail and spreads to other nails or skin. Nail fungus is a focus and source of infection for other parts of the body. Even if all fungal foci on the skin of the feet or trunk are cured, reinfection will come from the remaining foci of infection in the nails.
Nail fungal diseases impair the quality of life. Research conducted by the National Academy of Mycology has shown that the presence of nail fungus or ringworm of the feet significantly reduces quality of life - a set of indicators that characterize a person's emotional, mental and social well-being. It has been found that the quality of life in the case of fungal nail disease decreases on average to 50-55% of the typical total value of a healthy person. At the same time, patients not only noticed physical inconveniences associated with thickening or destruction of the nails, but also experienced various negative experiences, fears and emotions. It has been found that nail fungus severely limits a person's activity, interfering with their rest, sports, communication with other people. In addition, feelings of discomfort and shame about the condition of their nails sometimes prevented them from seeing a doctor in a timely manner. The longer the disease lasted, the more severe the fungus on the nails became and the worse the quality of life.
In addition to reducing the quality of life, fungi cause some health problems. The first and main health problem, which is caused by the presence of nail fungus, is the fungus itself - a chronic infectious disease that is destroying the nails and that threatens to spread to people around them, especially to the patient's family members. The presence of a relative with a fungus, by the way, is noticed by at least 1/3 of patients with damaged nails. According to medical statistics and epidemiological studies, in Russia, the presence of fungal nail disease can be expected in almost every five adults. At the same time, the incidence in the last 10 years has increased 2, 5 times. A further increase in incidence is expected. At the same time, the probability of the presence of fungi increases with age: approximately twice every 10 years of life.
Nail ringworm and untreated foot ringworm are considered a gateway to other infectious diseases - eg bacterial erysipelas. Fungal nail infection significantly complicates the course of diabetes mellitus and can lead to serious complications.
Allergizing the human body with a fungal infection is possible - the formation of hypersensitivity to the fungus as an allergen, ie fungal allergy. Diseases such as bronchial asthma, allergic dermatitis, various skin rashes and reactions may develop or worsen the course.
In very rare cases, as a rule, in a context of immunodeficiency, untreated nail fungus led to the development of deep mycosis - the germination or penetration of the fungus with blood into Organs internal organs, which caused death. Fortunately, most modern nail fungus patients do not show these results. But even if you completely rule out its possibility, you cannot leave nail fungal disease untreated. It is impossible not to treat scabies, lice and other infectious diseases. If you suspect nail fungus, we recommend that you see a doctor as soon as possible.
Although we reasoned that way, the fungus on someone's nail may have advanced a few fractions of a millimeter. This is his job, a small business so to speak. The fungus does this all the time, day after day. Days add up to weeks, weeks to months, months to years. Over the years, the disease worsens if the fungus is not treated. In one of the most recent studies, it was shown that every 5 years the severity of onychomycosis increases at several points on a special scale. This means that the new nails are affected by the fungus, and in each of them, the affected area and the degree of thickening increase. This means that the negative impact of ringworm on health and quality of life will be stronger. This is a proven fact. But that is not all. The more severe the fungal infection of the nails, the more difficult the treatment will be. If in the early stages of the infection antifungal nail polish or nail solution can help, after a few years antifungal pills cannot be dispensed with. The longer the illness lasts, the longer they will have to be taken (and more to buy). And after ten to twenty years, as a rule, only the removal of the nail plate, plus these funds, will help.
See your doctor as soon as possible. Every year you delay the fungus, you lengthen the necessary period of treatment and observation, add large doses of medicine, do the necessary processing of the nails. Don't make a big mistake - don't take systemic medications on your own! If fungal nail diseases did not cause the changes mentioned above, then, in fact, treating the fungus would be just a matter of attitude towards appearance. Next, we would put healthy nails on the same list, along with white teeth, clean skin, and no bad odor. And the question of the cost of ringworm treatment would sound like this: Are you willing to give money to recover your uneaten, unthickened and unwanted nails? However, the issue is not the only one. Are you willing to pay to protect your family from athlete's foot? Do you want to regain your previous quality of life? Can you stop the spread of the infection today?