Link between Type 2 Diabetes and Black Toenail Fungus
Many people with Type 2 diabetes have problems with their feet. This is due to poor circulation and nerve damage. The hardening and darkening of the toenails are common. And sometimes the blackening of toenails is a sign that you have a fungal infection.
When a fungus reaches the stage where it turns a toenail a dark or black color, it becomes a problem. This can result in it spreading to other nails, or even cause other medical problems if it’s not treated quickly and correctly. But is the link between Type 2 diabetes and black toenail fungus nothing more than a coincidence?
If you have diabetes and have experienced foot issues (including athlete’s foot), paying attention to the warning signs of toenail fungus is critically important. Taking care of your feet should be one of your highest priorities.
The feet are where many warning signs originate. So, if you pay close enough attention to the health of your feet and toes, you’ll be doing yourself a favor in the long run.
Table of Contents:
- 1 Is Toenail Fungus a Sign of Diabetes?
Is Toenail Fungus a Sign of Diabetes?
Black toenail fungus and diabetes can go hand-in-hand. But, does that mean toenail fungus is a symptom of diabetes? Unfortunately, there’s no clear way to answer this question.
Toenail fungus ‘could’ be an early symptom of diabetes. But, with so many potential causes, this question requires further investigation.
How Toenail Fungus is Contracted
Toenail fungus is caused by trapped moisture underneath the nail bed, creating a breeding ground for fungi to grow. Perhaps you went barefoot in a public shower, or maybe you were getting a pedicure, and the pedicurist accidentally poked the nail bed with an infected tool. You may not even know where, or how you got an infection.
But, you don’t have to assume that the fungus is connected to Type 2 Diabetes.
The First Sign of Fungus
If you notice the early signs of toenail fungus, the best thing you can do is get it checked out by a doctor. You’re likely to notice a small black dot under the nail, followed by hardening of the nail. It may also become brittle, and even discolored. Not only will a podiatrist be able to clear up any doubts about the fungus, but they can start you on a treatment plan.
If you’re worried that toenail fungus might be a sign of diabetes (especially if it runs in your family, or you have other risk factors), see a doctor. Other tests need to be run in order to determine your overall health status.
Does Diabetes Cause Toenail Fungus?
If you have type 2 diabetes, you probably already understand the importance of keeping your feet healthy. When you experience something like changes in the color or hardening of the nails, it’s time to take action.
Why Does Diabetes Cause Fungus?
People with diabetes are more prone to infections and fungus, because of possible nerve damage caused by the illness. Many people with diabetes also have decreased blood flow and circulation, which makes it more difficult for your body to fight off fungus and bacterial infections.
These issues make it difficult for you to realize that something might be wrong. The reduced circulation and nerve damage results in less feeling in the feet. So, it’s important to check your feet every day. If you notice the warning signs of a fungus, start a treatment plan without delay.
Keep in mind that there are other possibilities for yellow, thick nails that people with Type 2 Diabetes may experience. Discoloration can occur because of the issues with sugar breaking down within the body. When it is not properly broken down, it has an effect on the collagen of your nails and can turn them a yellowish color.
If your nails turn thick and hard because of a fungus, be aware that you’re running even more of a risk without immediate treatment. There’s a chance your nails could actually cut into your foot, especially if you’re wearing tight socks/shoes. If you do get a cut and don’t feel it, you run the risk of a serious infection and other medical problems.
Toenail Fungus Treatment for Diabetes
Depending on the severity of your fungus, a standard treatment plan may be an option. It can include everything from prescription treatments to topical over-the-counter solutions or home remedies. If you catch the fungus in an early stage, there’s a good chance that treating it with a typical solution will take care of the problem.
Treating a Tough Fungus
If the toenail fungus has discolored your nail, and it has turned dark green or black, a different type of treatment may be necessary. Your doctor will likely first prescribe an antifungal cream or ointment to use daily. Keep in mind that even with a strong antifungal prescription, some toenail issues can take upwards of a year to clear up.
You may also wish to consider taking probiotics. There is evidence that suggests they help the body to fight off fungus.
Prescriptions and Procedures
There are antifungal drugs that you can take orally, such as Lamisil or Sporanox. Oftentimes, if the fungus is severe, your doctor might recommend both an oral solution and a topical treatment. The side effects of these drugs are typically mild and can range from a light rash to headaches. But, they work as quickly as possible when it comes to getting rid of toenail fungus.
Newer treatment options are also available. Lasers and a treatment called photodynamic therapy are currently being used as solutions for tougher fungus. These procedures use specific types of light to kill the fungus and remove the infection.
As a last resort, your doctor might recommend removing the infected nail entirely. When you have black toenail fungus, the risk of it spreading and creating other medical problems is higher. So, if you remove the nail, you can remove the fungus.
Overall Foot Care for Diabetics
When you suffer from Type 2 Diabetes, one of the most important things you can do is care for your feet. It’s also a good idea to take precautions. This can involve everything from wearing special antifungal socks and shoes, to treating them daily with antifungal creams, etc. People have also been able to keep toenail fungus away by using vibrating foot massage machines.
The link between Type 2 Diabetes and black toenail fungus is strong. But, by paying attention to your feet, your risk of infection goes down. Even if you do get toenail fungus as a diabetic, treating it early make the process a lot easier.