A toenail fungus (onychomycosis) is far more likely to affect your nails if you have a compromised immune system. Your body’s immune cells cannot reach fungal spores due to poor circulation. The feet are one of the most poorly circulated parts of the body.
Your likely to have a weakened immune system if you’re a senior adult with circulatory issues or have a severe medical condition, such as AIDS, cancer or diabetes. Immunosuppressive medications, such as steroids, can also severely weaken the immune system.
Aside from the higher incidence of fungal infections, you’re at more risk of connected illness and disease. Infection can spread throughout the body when the skin surrounding the infected nailbed is broken. Bacteria can enter the bloodstream, potentially leading to health issues such as cellulitis, gangrene, and septicemia. That’s why early toenail fungus treatment is essential.
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Does the Immune System Kill Toenail Fungus?
You’ve probably wondered why your body seems to fight off other conditions effectively, but not toenail fungus. As healthy as you might be, it won’t help your body get rid of toenail fungus.
The fungus responsible spreads in humid, dark, and damp conditions. All it takes is a single spore to reach the nailbed and start the infection.
Unfortunately, the immune system is limited in targeting and eliminating nail fungus. Immunity works through the blood vessels and circulatory system. This makes toenail fungal conditions impossible for the body to eliminate.
When the body is affected by a foreign element, its first line of defense is the immune system. The white blood cells and other defense mechanisms work together to eliminate these particles.
The problem with a toenail fungus is that the source of infection is located in the nailbed. A cuticle does not contain sufficient blood vessels for the immune system to reach infections.
This means that the only option is to treat fungus yourself. You can use gels, creams, and ointments to do the job that your white blood cells cannot. It’s best that you do because toenail fungus is highly contagious and rapidly spreads in warm and moisture-prone areas.
That is why such ailments affect the feet more commonly than the hands.
How Does Toenail Fungus Spread?
Your feet provide a moist and dark environment where the fungal spores can thrive. Locker rooms, saunas, nail salons, and public showers in gyms are problematic due to an abundance of moisture.
Symptoms are difficult to contain without a comprehensive treatment plan. This is why if you fail to treat toenail fungus, it will continue to spread and become worse.
The spores responsible for toenail fungus are microscopic. A single surviving particle can cause reinfection. Optimum hygiene practices are needed to prevent the infection from spreading.
Cleanliness restricts access through broken skin surrounding the toenail. This includes washing and drying the feet thoroughly, not reusing socks and sterilizing shoes regularly.
Can Weak Immune System Cause Toenail Fungus?
A weak immune system can increase susceptibility for contracting a toenail fungus. Older adults, pregnant women, those with diabetes, HIV or immune disorders are at higher risk of contracting toenail infections. It is imperative that a worsening toenail condition is assessed by a doctor.
Most seniors contract nail infections due to poor circulation in the feet and weaker immune function. The nails will develop at a much slower pace allowing sporadic fungal growth.
Before the fresh nail can grow out and infection be cut away, the fungus has taken over the new cuticle. Unfortunately, the risk of toenail fungus is much higher in a weak immune system. It is also more difficult to overcome and prevent.
The problem of a weak immune system and toenail infection is the potential to spread into the body. Diabetes, age or medications can affect immune strength.
Individuals are susceptible to complex and life-threatening disorders. A minor break in the skin surrounding affected nails provides an entry point for bacteria. Without the defense of a strong immunity, the invader quickly gets into the bloodstream.
The fungus then has full reign to invade the circulatory system. Affected patients can develop cellulitis, a painful bacterial infection of the skin. Without a course of antibiotics, cellulitis can quickly become septic.
Can Toenail Fungus Cause Infections?
A crack in the skin can allow bacterial infections to enter the body. Athlete’s foot, cellulitis, and gangrene are all associated with severe toenail fungus and a weak immune system.
The infections caused by toenail fungus are of primary concern for those managing diabetes and chronic disease. Having poor immune function makes it difficult for the body to fight the infection.
The spread of a toenail fungus occurs when the skin surrounding the toes is cracked, cut or nicked. Clipping affected toenails could also nick the skin. Cracked skin allows bacteria to enter the body.
Skin and toes that are inflamed and tender to the touch are signs of cellulitis. Cellulitis can quickly move into the bloodstream. It must be treated with antibiotics to prevent migration and fatality.
Infections contracted from a toenail fungus can become dangerous very quickly. Remain aware of changes in nail appearance and texture.
Some people may experience white patches on the nails while others develop a thick yellow toenail. One toenail could become infected and spread to the remaining nails and other foot.
Athlete’s foot is a common fungal ailment contracted from the microbes of toenail fungus. Infected toenails on sweaty feet covered by socks through the day, increase the rate of spread.
The nails on your hands are less likely to suffer fungal infection. Your hands, in contrast, are exposed and do not provide the ideal environment for fungi to grow.
What Should I Do Now?
A toenail fungus causes unsightly nails including yellowing, streaked, and broken nails/cuticles. If left untreated, the infection may spread to remaining toenails and feet. Toenail fungus is common, but its adverse effects on physical health can prove to be far worse.
The immune system plays a vital role in preventing and getting rid of toenail fungus. Maintenance of immunity protects against bacteria and fungus entering through cracks in the surrounding skin.
It’s vital to take steps to strengthen your immune response with both diet and exercise. If your body isn’t working optimally, you should consider taking probiotics for toenail fungus to enhance your body’s immune response.
Don’t delay in treating a fungal infection of the toenails. Fungal conditions get worse if left untreated and, according to the CDC, there are further health risks of you’re immunocompromised. Make sure that you consult your doctor or podiatrist before commencing a treatment plan.