Risk Factors and Complications of Nail Fungus

Nail fungus is a nasty problem that can be hard to get rid of. Over ten million Americans are afflicted with some kind of nail fungal infection. Once you have become infected, it can be difficult to get rid of nail fungus. Nail fungus thrives in the area beneath your fingernails and toenails. Who is most at risk of developing a nail fungal infection? Here are some risk factors for developing nail fungus. If you think you may be at a greater risk for nail infections, take extra precautions to keep clear of these nasty fungi.

Nail fungal infections are more common among the older population, so if you are an older adult you may be at a greater risk for developing an infection. This is because nails tend to grow thick and more slowly with age. Thick nails are more susceptible to becoming infected. If you have a family history of nail infections, you may also be more susceptible to developing infection. There appears to be a strong hereditary factor for this condition. Also, men appear to be contract fungal infections at higher rates than women. Men seem especially prone to developing nail fungal infections in the toenails.

What other risk factors are there for nail fungal infections? People who smoke appear more likely to develop nail fungus. Individuals who perspire heavily may also be at a greater risk of developing fungal infections. This is because perspiration provides a warm and moist environment for fungus to thrive. People who work in a moist or humid environment may also be at a greater risk, for precisely the same reasons that heavy sweaters are more prone to it. Wearing socks and shoes that promote a moist and dark environment may also increase your risk of contracting an infection. Opt for clean cotton socks that are non-porous and that wick away moisture. Other risk factors include walking barefoot, especially in wet public spaces such as public pools and locker rooms. You may also be more prone to nail fungus if you keep your hands wet for extended periods of time, during dish washing for instance. Wear gloves if you must keep your hands wet for long periods of time. If you have sustained some kind of injury to your nails, this can also be the impetus for a nail fungal infection. Finally, having a compromised or weakened immune system may also increase your chances of developing a skin or nail infection.

Complications of nail fungal infections can range from minor discomfort to serious permanent damage. The most serious scenario is that the nail fungal infection can spread into a more dangerous infection. The infection can spread beyond your feet or hands and begin to affect other areas of your skin and even internal organs. Nail fungal infections can pose a serious health threat for people with diabetes, high blood pressure, or those with a compromised immune system. Nail fungal infections can also cause nerve damage, open sores, problems with blood circulation, foot ulcers and other complications.

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