Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects millions of people worldwide, and it is characterized by high blood sugar levels. Diabetes can lead to a variety of health complications, including heart disease, kidney disease, and nerve damage. One lesser-known complication of diabetes is an increased risk of toenail fungus. toenail fungus, also known as onychomycosis, is a fungal infection that can cause thick, discolored, and brittle nails.
Diabetes is a risk factor for toenail fungus because it can damage the blood vessels and nerves in the feet. This damage can make it difficult for the body to fight off infection, including fungal infections. Diabetes also causes changes in the skin, such as dryness and cracking, which can make it easier for fungus to penetrate the nails.
Symptoms of toenail fungus include thick, discolored nails that may be brittle and easily broken. The nails may also have a foul odor, and they may separate from the nail bed. These symptoms can be painful, and they can make it difficult to walk or wear shoes.
Toenail fungus is often caused by a type of fungus called dermatophytes, which thrive in warm, moist environments. People with diabetes are more likely to develop toenail fungus because of the increased risk of foot infections, and because diabetes can cause changes in the skin that make it easier for fungus to penetrate the nails.
Treatment for toenail fungus usually involves antifungal medications. These medications can be applied topically or taken orally. Topical antifungal medications are applied directly to the nail and surrounding skin, and they work by killing the fungus that is causing the infection. Oral antifungal medications are taken by mouth and work by killing the fungus from the inside out.
In addition to antifungal medications, people with diabetes should also take steps to keep their feet healthy. This includes keeping the feet clean and dry, wearing properly fitting shoes, and checking the feet regularly for signs of infection. People with diabetes should also see a foot care specialist on a regular basis, as they are at a higher risk of developing foot problems, including toenail fungus.
However, with proper care and treatment, it is possible to manage both conditions effectively. If you have diabetes and suspect you may have toenail fungus, it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional as soon as possible to get a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.