Toenail Fungus – Etiology And Epidemiology

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Toenail Fungus

Are you regularly exposed to wet environments like swimming pool and showers regularly? Then, you are more at risk for the toenail fungus infection. These environments favor the growth of the fungus that causes nail infections. The nails that are affected could be fingernails or toenails.

The nail infection called Onychomycosis, which is a progressive and recurring disease, is caused by the Dermatophytes. They affect the skin under the nail. You may not realize that this fungus affecting you until the symptoms show up. Symptoms are coloring of the nail. The nail color may become white or pale yellow or yellow.

Around 35 million Americans have suffered from onychomycosis. At least 35% of the patients of ages between 60 and 70 get affected with this disease, and almost half of people over age 70 may have it.

Epidemiology of the nail fungus infection or Onychomycosis is partially known since it involves combination of different factors. The patient’s background, clinical form of the infection, and the etiological agent are the initial factors responsible for the onset of onychomycosis. Apart from the ecology and physiology of the causative agent, the poulation habits also play an important role in the occurrence of this condition.

A person who is having family history, peripheral vascular disease and smoking are more prone to this dreadful disease of toenail fungus.

Toenail fungus can easily infect the people who have damaged nail or athlete’s foot. Exposure to wetness for a long time could also be one of the main reasons for getting affected by the nail fungus.

Non-dermatophytic moulds, yeasts, and Dermatophytes are the main etiological factors responsible for the occurrence of toenail fungus. The main causative agent for majority of nail infections is due to Dermatophytes, most often Trichophyton Rubrum. Invasion of candidia (See Glossary) is noticed commonly in women than men and also common in fingernails rather than toenails.

Once you are infected with nail fungus in one nail, then it would be the main cause of getting the other nail infected. It easily spreads to the other nails. It is also possible for the mycosis (See glossary) to spread to the other parts of the body.

Who are more prone to Nail Fungus?

Apart from the above factors that contribute to the growth of the nail fungus there are also other factors like chronic diseases and disorder that might be there in a patient. Patients with HIV and diabetes are more likely to get these infections. Men suffering from diabetes are about three times more prone for onychomycosis than diabetic females.

Genetic disorders like the Down syndrome and the blood circulation disorders like the Raynaud syndrome could also contribute to the nail fungus infection.

Cushing’s syndrome that produces excess cortisone could also contribute to the rapid growth and infection of the nail fungus. As the age of the person increase they are more susceptible to nail fungus infections.

People working in the food industry, swimming pools, hospitals, nurses, sportsperson, childcare centers are at risk of getting the nail infections caused by the Dermatophytes.

After reading about the etiology and epidemiology of nail fungus, do you want to keep the nail fungus in check? Don’t worry. It is easy to treat just like that of relieving from a common cold. Do pay attention to underneath the toenails and also scrub away dirt, dead fungus and nail tissue using a nailbrush.
Glossary:
Candida – It is nothing but yeast that can cause fungal infections in humans.
Mycosis- This is a condition in which the fungus become resistance to natural human barriers and established infections in an individual.

 
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