Nails are smooth horn-like envelopes with a light pink color that have a function to protect the fingertips and assist in fine movements.
The condition of nails depends on age, gender, the presence of certain diseases, and hereditary features. Their appearance may disclose a lot about the condition of the whole organism.
The causes (factors) for the development of a nail disease can be summarized in the following:
– Biological factors – various types of fungi and bacteria
– Medications – as a result of the use of some drugs, deformation or development of certain nail diseases may be observed, such as tetracycline, cytostatics, etc.
– Environmental impacts – traumas, abrasions, blows, working with bases and acids, and others. This factor together with the biological one are considered as the most common cause of nail diseases
– Diseases on the skin – atopic eczema, psoriasis, lichen planus, and others.
The most common changes in the nails which require a visti at the dermatologist are:
1. Changes in the colour of the nails
– White spots – are often seen in anemia and are a sign of vitamin and mineral deficiency.
– Yellow-brown spots – may be a sign of fungal infection, use of poor quality nail cosmetics, some medications.
– Blue-black stains – due to trauma, in case of cytostatic and antimalarial drugs intake
2. Changes in nail structure
– Complete lack of nail by birth – this is a parent-child transmitted disease, rarely observed in Bulgaria
– Central nail sinking – usually iron deficiency anemia
– Thickened and distorted nails – often in fungal infections
– Small, short nails – progressive scleroderma;
– Fragile nails – may be due to metabolic disturbances
Treatment of nail changes should begin as early as possible before permanent damage to the nail envelopes occurs. Depending on the cause of the disease, there are different types of treatment methods:
– local – with creams and lotions
– systemic – with oral medication
Because of the slow nail growth, all treatments can take many months and even a year to recover completely. Genetic illnesses are accompanied by severe nail changes that are incurable.