Nail fungus and diabetes

A common problem in diabetic patients is nail fungus.

Approximately a third of all diabetics are estimated to have nail fungus, or onychomycosis, compared with approximately 2-13 percent of the general population. Male diabetics are with more than female diabetics to have the disease, and the risk increases with age. People with other diseases that suppress the immune system, for example psoriasis, inflammatory bowel disease or AIDS, are also more prone to nail fungus. 

Although a mild nail fungus infection can be considered mainly an aesthetic problem for a fully healthy person, the consequences of leaving it untreated can be serious for a person with diabetes. Diabetics are more likely than nondiabetics to suffer severe complications from the disease, for example gangrene, diabetic foot ulcers and other foot disorders that could lead to limb amputation. They also have a higher risk of contracting secondary skin infections like cellulitis and paronychia. As a diabetic, you need to watch carefully for any symptoms of nail fungus and contact your doctor immediately if your nails start to become discoloured, brittle or thicker than normal.

Why is there a connection between nail fungus and diabetes?

If you have diabetes you are more likely to have poor blood circulation and impaired nerve function in your hands and feet. This means that your ability to feel pain is reduced and you may be more prone to trauma, which can damage the toenails and the skin around them. Even tiny cuts and injuries can allow fungi to invade the nail, especially if you are diabetic and already have a weak immune system. Injuries that are due to the fungal infection may also go unnoticed and can cause serious diabetic foot infections. For example, thickened nails, a common symptom of onychomycosis, can put pressure on the nail bed and cause the skin tissue to die. Sharp, infected nails can also pierce the skin around the nail, allowing fungi and bacteria to enter. 

Obesity, a condition that is associated with diabetes, can make it harder to examine your feet for changes that may have taken place, for example discolouration, brittleness or loosening of the nail. Self-examination of the feet is also more difficult if you suffer from diabetic eye diseases like cataracts or retinopathy. In addition, taking immunosuppressant drugs can increase your vulnerability to fungal infection.

Podiatrist holding woman foot

Treatment and prevention of nail fungus in diabetic patients

The treatment of nail fungus is the same whether you have diabetes or not, but the risk of recurrence is higher if you are diabetic. For diabetics and other high risk groups, for example the elderly, it may not be possible to completely cure the onychomycosis, but treatment will help keep it under control. 

Treatment options range from over the counter topical creams and medical devices to oral drugs and surgery for some severe cases. Nail fungus is challenging to treat but there are some newer treatment options that can improve an infected nail in as little as 2-4 weeks. Naloc treats nails affected by fungal infection or psoriasis by using a physical antifungal effect to kill the fungi that typically cause nail infection. Naloc also reduce nail discolouration and improves the appearance of the nail with visible results often as fast as within 2 weeks. 

Naloc is approved for use in diabetics, but if you have diabetes you should always take extra care when applying a topical treatment. Make sure that you only apply Naloc to the nail and promptly wipe off any excess that may accidentally end up on the surrounding skin. Since nail fungus infections can be particularly problematic for diabetics, it is recommended that you contact your doctor for advice regarding treatment. 

You can help prevent onychomycosis have by taking good care of your feet and examining them daily for cuts and sores. Make sure to pay extra attention to the webbed area between your toes and watch for symptoms of athlete’s foot, which is common among diabetics and can increase your risk of nail fungus. Do not wait until the condition becomes painful before you contact a doctor – the sooner you start treatment, the higher the chances of avoiding complications.


Resources


Naloc – Triple acting fungal nail treatment

Naloc treats fungal nails, reduces disolourations and smoothens the outer layers of the nail.


Nail fungus symptoms

Nail fungus is the cause for approximately 50% of all nail disorders. What are the symptoms?

Naloc – Triple acting fungal nail treatment

Naloc is antifungal, reduces discolouration and strengthens and smoothens the outer layers of the nail.

Read about Naloc