Onychomycosis is a disease in which parasitic fungi invade the nail plates and the surrounding skin. Many are in no hurry to treat the ailment, because they think that it is not dangerous for the body. However, it is not. Symptoms of fungal infections are growing rapidly, especially with a weakened immune system. Further, partial or complete destruction of the nail plates occurs, severe complications appear, which in isolated cases threaten a sick person with a fatal outcome. But this is not all you need to know about pathogenic microflora.
Is nail fungus dangerous for humans
Men are more likely to get nail fungus than women, and this is often due to neglect of basic hygiene rules, as well as professional conditions. Mycotic spores multiply rapidly in a humid environment, and in industrial enterprises where workers are engaged in heavy physical labor, no one is involved in controlling humidity in the premises.
The peculiarity of onychomycosis is that the severe consequences of the fungus are observed in every second infected person due to illiterate treatment or a feeling of constraint, in which patients are not in a hurry to the hospital. They independently choose their own medications and naively believe with a marked improvement in the condition and the disappearance of alarming symptoms that the disease has receded. But if you do not treat mycosis further, then the infection "lurking" in hard-to-reach places (for example, at the atrophic stage of onychomycosis) again makes itself felt when conditions favorable for it are created.
The fungus is also dangerous because in its severe forms, spores can penetrate deeper under the skin, enter the bloodstream and spread with it throughout the body. The causative agent of the disease is highly active in a humid environment, therefore, new foci of the disease will inevitably appear in the internal organs, and then the person is doomed to severe toxic damage, which may ultimately result in death.
The most dangerous types of fungi
Everyone should know what types of pathogenic microflora are especially dangerous. The consequences of ignoring nail fungus can be irreparable if the following types of mycosis are found in a person after a diagnostic examination:
- Dermatophytes. Onychomycosis is caused by one of 3 pathogens: Trichophyton, Microsporum, Epidermophyton. Stripes of gray or yellow hue appear on the nail plates, keratin becomes loose, uneven. It becomes thinner and at the last stage of the disease lags behind the nail bed;
- Yeast. Its development causes the fungus Candida. If a person has a strong immune system, this form of the disease does not threaten him, because the body maintains a balance of "bad" and "positive" microorganisms, and the cells that perform a protective function do not allow yeast to increase its number. But if it is weakened under the influence of concomitant diseases or severe physical exhaustion, then Candida fungi begin to multiply rapidly, affecting not only the internal organs of a person, but also invading the nail plates. They become thinner and crumble, the inflammatory process captures patches of skin on the toes, causing their redness and swelling;
- Moldy. This type of fungus is very dangerous for the body, because in the last stages on the soft tissues located next to the nails, ulcerated foci are formed, which are the "open gate" for any infection. Unpleasant black spots appear on the nail plates, which gradually grow into dark spots. The keratin layer acquires an unpleasant greenish, brown or black shade.
Any of these types of fungus can cause irreparable health effects, so it is important to detect and treat onychomycosis in the early stages. Ultimately, the nails are so deformed and destroyed that the patient may face severe toxic poisoning (fungal products accumulate in the human body) or an allergic reaction. In this case, the fungus is the allergen itself, and since it is very difficult to get rid of it, its intolerance will continue to develop.
What threatens the fungus during pregnancy
Strong changes occur in the female body during pregnancy: the hormonal background is disturbed, the stomach grows, which puts pressure on the internal organs and creates an enormous load on the spine. The substances necessary for life and growth of the fetus enter the bloodstream through the placenta. At this time, the woman lacks vitamins and minerals, and if their daily supply is not adequately replenished, the body's defenses are weakened.
It becomes open to various infections, including infection with a fungus. The disease will be difficult because the immune system cannot fight back pathogens. There is no barrier that would prevent their reproduction. The situation is complicated by the fact that fungal spores can penetrate the mother’s blood and enter her internal organs. In this case, they may appear in the body of the child.
For the effective treatment of fungal diseases, 3 directions are used: systemic, integrated and external. With systemic treatment, drugs are taken orally (ingestion) and their components affect the body as a whole. If the fungus enters the bloodstream, then this therapy acts on fungal spores destructively in any part of the body. With a comprehensive fight against the disease, drugs are used for external use and for oral administration. Creams, solutions and varnishes are used to treat nail plates and skin.
Pregnant women are rarely prescribed medications for oral administration, because this can adversely affect the development of the fetus. Doctors choose external treatment methods for them that affect only the nail plates of the legs and affected areas of the skin. These treatments are safe for the fetus.
The consequences of nail fungus, if left untreated
The disease proceeds in 3 stages. If he is diagnosed at the initial or middle stage of development, then there is every chance of a successful cure. But a severe form of the disease threatens with serious complications.
3 stages of fungus development:
- Normotrophic. The nails of the foot retain their shape, but white or dark dots appear on their surface, they thicken and turn yellow from the edges;
- Hypertrophic. Nail plates change color, become thinner, their structure becomes loose. They are easily stratified, the edges become uneven;
- Atrophic. Pieces of nails from the edges easily fall behind the bed, it is not visible through the nail plate. The inflammatory process passes to the skin, where small ulcerated foci form. The smell of decay comes from the legs. Toes may be deformed.
Fungal disease is especially difficult against a background of chronic infectious diseases, diabetes mellitus, and diseases of the skeletal system. The terrible consequences of an uncured fungus are pathologies:
- Toxermia. This is an acute inflammatory process of the skin, which develops as a result of exposure to a large number of toxins that enter the subcutaneous layer. They have allergic properties: poison the body and at the same time cause a reaction of "rejection";
- Lyell's Syndrome. This disease also has an allergic nature and is the body's response to severe toxic poisoning, which develops as a result of the activity of fungal spores. First of all, the skin, mucous membranes and kidneys are affected, and then other internal organs, which threatens the patient with a fatal outcome;
- Toxic hepatopathy. The action of toxic substances leads to severe functional liver failure. If left untreated, it can be fatal.
A person does not think about how dangerous the fungus of the legs is until he himself encounters its consequences. Unfortunately, in isolated cases, the disease cannot be cured and its relapses occur throughout the rest of life. We are talking about advanced cases of fungal pathology, when parasites "travel" through the internal organs. Even the smallest focus of the disease can lead to new outbreaks. To prevent this from happening, doctors advise not to forget about the most basic preventive measures:
- When going to baths and saunas, use only your slippers, a towel, a toothbrush and other hygiene items;
- More often, wash your feet, take care of the skin of the feet, cleansing them of dead keratinized scales using cosmetics;
- Lead a healthy lifestyle, proper nutrition, in which plant products predominate;
- Avoid contact with people who have a foot fungus because this disease is contagious. Others can hide the information that they are sick, so you need to pay attention to their appearance of the feet;
- The absence of bad habits, regular walks in the fresh air – these are the foundations that make the immune system strong. Good health is a shield that the fungus will not let into the body and will not allow it to develop there.