Wednesday, August 6, 2014

12 Interesting Facts About Nail Fungal Infections

12 Interesting Facts About Nail Fungal Infections

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12 Interesting Facts About Nail Fungal Infections

Posted: 05 Aug 2014 08:00 AM PDT


A nail fungal infection, also termed onychomycosis, [1] is a condition that affects the fingernails and toenails. Symptoms are denoted by a thickening and discoloration of the nail, eventually transforming the nail into hues of yellow, green, and even black. As the disease progresses, nail beds can become painful and brittle, and they even begin flaking and breaking off altogether. [2] These conditions are generally absent of any significant discomfort unless they have developed into severe issues.


This type of infection is surprisingly common these days, and occurrence often increases with age. According to recent statistics, around 3-5% of the population suffer from some type of nail fungus infection. [3] Toenail fungal infections are more prevalent than that of the fingernail yet are largely hidden from view by footwear.

In naturopathic teachings, the appearance of a toenail infection can reveal many things regarding overall health. A nail infection may suggest that the nails are receiving poor blood circulation, being among the last areas of the body to receive fresh blood supply. Issues with nail infections may also indicate immune system dysfunction. [4]

12 Facts About Nail Fungal Infections

While you may not suffer from this condition, it’s helpful to be aware of the signs of a nail fungal infection as well as the interesting facts surrounding this issue. [5] [6] [7] [8]

  1. Onychomycosis accounts for up to 30% of all topical skin infections.
  2. Nail fungal infections affects up to 5% of the general population. 20% of people 60 and older, and 50% of individuals 70 years and older are also affected.
  3. Conventional approaches to fungal infections are only effective in about 50% of people.
  4. The 3 primary causative pathogens are dermatophytic fungi, Candida yeasts, and non-dermatophytic molds.
  5. The majority of toenail fungal infections are often caused by dermatophytic fungi.
  6. The majority of fingernail fungal infections are often caused by Candida fungi.
  7. Various molds can cause both toenail and fingernail infections.
  8. Men generally contract toenail fungus (aka athlete’s foot) more often than women.
  9. Infection of the nails can stem from people who work in/around water or damp areas.
  10. Risk factors include age, diminished blood circulation, slower thickening of nails, diabetes, psoriasis, going long periods without wearing shoes, immune system disorders, and excessive perspiration.
  11. One ­third of diabetics have been shown to have onychomycosis.
  12. People with psoriasis have a 56% higher risk for nail infection.


Solutions and Tips

Standard solutions for this condition, once accurately diagnosed, include oral and topical anti­fungal medications, excision of the infected nail, and focused laser therapy. Naturopathic therapies are considered less toxic, less harsh, and more readily available for those without access and/or desire to use orthodox and conventional approaches. Sunlight therapy, application of the affected areas with essential oils (such as tea tree or oregano oil), and hydrogen peroxide are all common examples of the natural approaches to fungal infections. Here are a few simple tips that you can use for fighting fungal infections:

  • Keep feet as clean and dry as possible.
  • Wear waterproof sandals at swimming pools and other public wet areas.
  • Wear clean, fresh socks/pantyhose daily.
  • Keep nails clipped regularly and don’t allow them to pass your finger/toe.
  • Avoid tight hosiery; these products often promote moisture retention.

By staying informed and being cautious of the main causes and symptoms of nail fungal infections, you can greatly increase your chances of prevention. If you're suffering from a nail fungal infection it is imperative that you receive immediate attention.

Have you ever had a toenail or fingernail fungus infection? What did you do to get rid of it? Please let us and other readers know by leaving your thoughts in the comments!

-Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM


  1. Boni E. Elewski. Onychomycosis: Pathogenesis, Diagnosis, and Management. Clin Microbiol Rev. Jul 1998; 11(3): 415–429. PMCID: PMC88888.
  2. Westerberg, DP; Voyack, MJ. Onychomycosis: current trends in diagnosis and treatment. American family physician 88 (11): 762–70. PMID 24364524.
  3. Tim C olde Hartman, Eric van Rijswijk. Fungal nail infection. BMJ 2008;337. doi: 10.1136/bmj.39357.558183.94.
  4. Levy LA. Epidemiology of onychomycosis in special-risk populations. J Am Podiatr Med Assoc. 1997 Dec;87(12):546-50.
  5. Patient. Fungal Nail Infections. Patient Fact Sheet.
  6. Midgley G1, Moore MK, Cook JC, Phan QG. Mycology of nail disorders. J Am Acad Dermatol. 1994 Sep;31(3 Pt 2):S68­74. PMID: 8077512.
  7. Gupta AK1, Konnikov N, MacDonald P, Rich P, Rodger NW, Edmonds MW, McManus R, Summerbell RC. Prevalence and epidemiology of toenail onychomycosis in diabetic subjects: a multi-centre survey. Br J Dermatol. 1998 Oct;139(4):665­71. PMID: 9892911.
  8. Gupta AK1, Lynde CW, Jain HC, Sibbald RG, Elewski BE, Daniel CR 3rd, Watteel GN, Summerbell RC. A higher prevalence of onychomycosis in psoriatics compared with non-
    psoriatics: a multicentre study.
    Br J Dermatol. 1997 May;136(5):786­9. PMID: 9205520

The post 12 Interesting Facts About Nail Fungal Infections appeared first on Natural Health & Organic Living Blog.

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