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Serious Health Risks for Diabetics with Nail Fungus

Nail fungus with diabetes is a dangerous health condition

Having nail fungus when your immune system is compromised with diabetes is dangerous to your health

Nail fungus, or onychomycosis, is a very common complaint among diabetics. Unfortunately, it is often overlooked in favor of taking care of issues that are more urgent. In addition to being unattractive for diabetics with nail fungus  this can pose numerous other health concerns. When left untreated, it can lead to nail deformity that causes pain or discomfort when wearing shoes or walking. If a secondary infection develops, it can lead to much more serious complications.

Fungal infections occur following exposure to a type of fungus known as a dermatophyte. These microorganisms thrive in dark, warm, moist environments. In people with good circulation and properly functioning immune systems, they are not quite as likely to cause an infection, but in diabetics, any exposure often leads to infection.

The first sign of a fungal infection is usually a small white, yellow or brown spot beneath the nail. In time, the entire nail will begin to discolor and become brittle. It also will typically thicken and may even start to separate from the nail bed. When the nail becomes thick, it may split or crack. Thickening, splitting or cracking can make it difficult to find a comfortable pair of shoes that fit properly. The pain and pressure caused by simply wearing a shoe to walk may begin to limit your mobility. This can be a major health risk for diabetics because lack of mobility further limits circulation and can contribute to deteriorating overall health.

Major Health Risks for Diabetics with Nail Fungus

When left untreated, nail fungus can also lead to more serious health problems, especially in diabetics and people who have weakened immune systems. It often leads to chronic athletes foot fungus by constantly feeding fungus onto the skin even after the skin infection has been treated. Though this fungus does not spread far, it causes fissures in the skin, especially between the toes. This allows for bacteria, which is more dangerous to human tissue than fungus, to enter the body. Because the immune system is preoccupied with trying to fight an ongoing fungal infection, the bacteria may go undetected, causing cellulitis or a deeper and more serious infection.

Cellulitis is a very common health risk for diabetics. It is a skin infection caused by bacteria that may enter the skin as the result of chronic fungal infections. Affected areas are tender, swollen, warm and red. If allowed to spread, cellulitis may also cause swollen glands, chills or fever. The bacteria that causes cellulitis can spread through the body and to the lymph nodes or blood. In some cases, this can be deadly. As the infection spreads through the body, it can also cause sepsis, a potentially deadly over-reaction of the immune system. Cellulitis can also cause other health complications such as blood clots in the legs.

Nail Fungus Can Be Life Threatening For Diabetics

For diabetics, it is important to seek medical attention for nail fungus to reduce the risk of potentially life threatening complications. There are several treatments available, but some are more effective than others. Topical creams typically do not work, but oral anti-fungal medications have been proven to be effective for many patients. Recently, lasers, such as the Q-Clear Laser, have emerged as one of the best methods of treating nail fungus.

Though it can be difficult, preventing onychomycosis is the best way to limit your risk of serious health complications. Always wear some type of shoes in the warm, damp places where fungus typically lives. Keep your nails trimmed neatly. If you cannot trim them yourself, see your podiatrist regularly. Wear shoes that allow for adequate airflow, and never wear them wet. If your feet tend to sweat, wear socks that wick moisture away from the skin.

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