Tags: severe nail conditions
Nails are a very delicate part of one's body – they are strong, yet at the same time fragile. Being exposed all the time to the weather and the environment in general, nails are in contact with quite a lot of dangerous substances and infections. Although nail diseases are not lethal, many of them are diseases for life – i.e. if you catch them, it is next to impossible to cure them once and forever. For example, take nail fungi. Fungal infections are caused by microorganisms that if left untreated, slowly eat out the nail plate. Fungal infections need constant treatment and still, it is not an exception to have them as a life-time companion.
But fungal infections, which are more common for toe nails than for finger nails, are not the only nail disease. There are many other conditions, disorders and diseases. Some of them are local to the nails, while others are the result of a general disease, which means that they can't be treated in isolation without treating the main disease first. What is more, sometimes nail conditions and disorders are a symptom for a more serious disease, so even if you don't care if your nails look great or not, seeing worrying sights on the nails is a reason to go to a dermatologist.
Many nail conditions and disorders can be treated at home but the general rule is that you need to see a dermatologist first who will prescribe you the necessary treatment. He or she is the one to tell you how to proceed because there are nail conditions, which are the result of trauma, rather than disease and they don't need any special treatment – only leave it for a while and it will heal. For instance, white spots or lines are often results of trauma and in some time they will disappear on their own. The same applies to most cases of ingrown nails – after you cut them, stop wearing tight shoes, or kick things on your way, ingrown nails most likely will start growing straight.
When trauma is concerned, the most common disease is the hematoma. If you smash your finger with something hard, like a door or drop a heavy thing on it, or are too active at fighting, you might see how your nails turn bluish-red because of all the blood that is trapped under the nail plate. Hematomas are generally not so severe conditions but if it does not go away for a couple of days, seeing a doctor is mandatory because there is a risk of Severe nail separation and infection.
Well, not all nail diseases are that harmless and easy to treat. For instance, if not treated on time, various infections (not only fungal ones) can spread to other parts of the body, when you touch them with your fingers or nails. Also, there are really serious conditions that lead to drop of the nail plate or irrevocable deformations. Even severe cases of ingrown nails could require surgical intervention if the pain is unbearable.
Other kinds of diseases involve various splits and lines. Again, it is a dermatologist, who can tell in a split or a line is an innocent one or poses danger. Occasional horizontal splits are pretty normal and usually they are the result of trauma. Vertical splits are less common and when they go deep in the nail, close towards its base, this can be regarded as a pretty serious condition that can lead to dropping the nail plate.
Other group of diseases are those that deform the nail plate. These include conditions and diseases like pterygium (the inward advance of the skin over the nail plate, making it look like the skin is trying to absorb the nail), onychatrophia (when the nail becomes smaller and smaller and often disappears entirely) and so on.
Nail psoriasis is also a frequent disease. It is an inflammatory chronic skin condition that often is spread to the nails as well. Psoriasis makes the nail look pitted and dry and it can lead to separation of the nail plate from the nail bed. Often psoriasis is accompanied by arthritis. The good news is that even the most severe cases can be treated.