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Nail Diseases

Posted by rafael on January 9, 2012 in Diseases

The importance of our hands and feet to carry out a normal everyday life is out of discussion. Together they drive us for the world. Our feet support our weight and allow us to move. They take us whenever we need, giving us a feeling of independence: we can walk by ourselves. Ou hands allow us to feel and to influence somehow the world around us.

They perform important functions such as holding, touching or manipulating things; allow us to communicate our feelings and needs by writing, playing musical instruments or painting; enable us to feel the environment by detecting when something is hot, sharp or smooth; they even carry out heavy work, caress our beloved people or hold our children.

Both hands and feet show society our capacity to work and to contribute to the personal, family and common welfare. Thus, when their functions are affected in some way, this may harm our self esteem and emotional balance. If the damages are serious enough may even disqualify us for performing certain functions. Furthermore, they are an essential part of our circulatory and nervous systems, so to keep them healthy contributes to our general physical well being.

Our fingers and toes are protected by nails. Both fingers and toe nails are made from keratin, a protein that protects fingertips and toe tips from traumas. At the same time, thanks to them it is possible to apply a certain counter-pressure with fingertips that allows ability and precision for picking up objects. Particularly in the case of women they are also used with aesthetical purposes. However, keeping your nails healthy goes beyond aesthetics, because this way we can prevent infections and diseases that would reflect in the health of our body.

Nail Diseases

As several studies have shown nail diseases affect people from different ages and are not related to a unique cause. Among the main reasons for nail disorders are skin diseases, injury traumas, poor blood circulation, ill-fitting shoes, inadequate hygiene and infections.

A typical disorder is nail deformation. They have been caused by skin diseases or injury traumas. For instance, psoriasis may cause severe overcurvature of the nails, while dermatitis and psoriasis are responsible for the appearance of large and irregular pits in nails’ surface that can vary in shape, number and size. Nail deformations are also a result of injury traumas such as battering fingers with some objects.

A case in point is a violent blow in fingers or toes that can seriously injure nails and cause them to grow in a distorted way. Other injury traumas resulting from accidental stubbing, wearing ill-fitting shoes or cutting your nails incorrectly may also reflects in hemorrhages that if are not properly treated could provoke infections, and eventually other diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.

Another nail disease is linked to its change in color. A healthy nail surface should be pink, and its colour looks white as the nail grows out of the nail bed. However, some fungal infections, cigars or even some injuries can cause nails to change its color. In the particular case of fungus infections such as onychomycosis the nail surface becomes yellow. As the infection gets worse the fungus attacks the keratin and provokes the detachment of the nail from its bed. Particularly fungal infections are more frequent in toe nails than in finger nails, because the first ones are often confined to dark, warm and slightly wet environments. The nicotine contained in cigarettes also turns nails into yellow.

A further nail disorder is related to some infections produced by bacteria such as the Staphylococcus aureus and Candida species. This infection causes redness and pain, and if it gets worse can lead to inflammation, the detachment of the nail from its bed and even pus. A precondition for this kind of disorder is linked to people who keep their hands wet or into water for long periods of time. For instance, children that develop the bad habit of sucking their thumbs are in danger of developing this kind of disorder.

Splitting nails is one more nail disease. It takes place when the nail is growing out of the nail bed. It is also related with having wet hands most part of time, particularly when detergents or soap are involved. The excessive use of nail polish removing products also causes this disorder.

An additional nail disorder takes place when the skin along the nail gets inflammed and it is known as paronychia. One of the possible causes is a minor trauma that if is not well treated can develop a bacterial infection producing redness, pain and pus.

Finally, the nails’ change of color can also be a result of other health disorders. For instance, pale nails can be associated with anemia, malnutrition and heart problems; white nails are linked to hepatitis and bluish nails to lung or hearth problems.

Recommendations for Preventing Nail Diseases

As nail diseases are linked to different causes there no exist unique recommendations that will suit all of them. Nevertheless, it is possible to systematically carry out some hygienic habits that can help prevent these problems.

On first place keeping a good hands and feet hygiene is important in order to avoid infections through bacteria and fungus. For this reason it is advisable to wash hands and feet frequently. This is particularly important in the case of hands, especially after having contact with infected nails, because fungus spread easily from one nail to another. Secondly, nails should be kept short, and their trimming should be performed carefully, trying to keep a straight line in order to avoid ingrown nails.

On third place, it is recommended to wear socks manufactured with fabrics that allow absorbing sweating, while trying to use fresh shoes in order to reduce humidity in your feet. Fourth, use always not old and well-fitting shoes. As a matter of fact old shoes are prone to shelter fungi for what it is highly advisable not to use them. Fifth, when you need to expose your hands to cleaning products and water it is suggested to wear globes. Finally, women should avoid overusing nail polish.

Nail diseases mainly occur due to unhygienic practices like not cutting up the nail at regular periods of time when they are needed to be cut and properly trimmed. Nail diseases are in no way similar to other skin diseases. It may be a cause for some intense pain forcing the person to take in painkillers as a result. Diseases of the nail and the deformations that usually result from it are reffered to as onychosis in strictly medical terminology. Nails may be a part of our body but it is really treated as a skin appendage  which means that something which is an extension of our skin. Nail diseases usually arise due to strictly medical causes and it won’t be a very feasible idea if one has to visit a beauty parlour to treat this particular disease.

Nail Diseases

Nail Diseases

Nail diseases mainly occur due to some injuries or wounds that may have taken place in and around the skin folds and the skin folds subsequently get affected and swollen up due to pathogens that may gather in its folds  due to the infections that may spread unabated within the surrounding region.  Nail diseases commonly affect the nails on the fingers and toes. Onychocryptosis, commonly known as ingrown nails also affect these regions of the fingers and toes mainly. This type is one of the rarest kinds. It usually grows and the nails cut into both sides of the nail bed. The movements that are usually involved while walking and other physical disturbances can take a toll in this kind of nail diseases. Another kind of nail disease known as onychodystrophy usually results after a person undergoes regular cancer chemotherapy. This particular trait results in the discolouration of nails in the patients.  Nail inspection can give out traits about the different aspects of the body as well.

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