Tag Archives: Nail disease

leukonychia

Description::
Leukonychia (or leuconychia), also known as white nails or milk spots, is a medical term for white discoloration appearing on nails. It is derived from the Greek words leuko (“white”) and onux (“nail”). The most common cause is injury to the base of the nail (the matrix) where the nail is formed…..CLICK & SEE

It is harmless and most commonly caused by minor injuries that occur while the nail is growing. Contrary to popular belief, leukonychia is not a sign of excess or deficiency of calcium and zinc or other vitamins in the diet but rather less commonly a medical sign of hypoalbuminemia or chronic liver disease. It is more commonly found on fingernails than toenails. There is no effective treatment for leukonychia. However, the white marks and spots gradually disappear as the nail grows outward from the matrix with the nail plate.

Leukonychia is a nail condition. It manifests as the nail changing color either partially or fully. This disease can be caused by systemic problems or most commonly, it is a genetic disorder. The nail appears to have the standard shape and appearance, except for the fact that the nail turns white. This is caused by the presence of “parakeatotic cells”. These cells have an undeveloped and bulky nucleus, which contain ‘keratohyalins’. This cell variation causes the nail to reflect light and makes the nail appear opaque white.

Types:
Leukonychia totalis :
This condition is a whitening of the entire nail. This may be a clinical sign of hypoalbuminaemia (low albumin), which can be seen in nephrotic syndrome (a form of kidney failure), liver failure, protein malabsorption and protein-losing enteropathies. A genetic condition, and a side effect of sulphonamides, a family of antibiotics can also cause this appearances.

Leukonychia partialis:
This condition is whitening of parts of the nail plate in form of small white dots. There are several types of this condition. There are three variations of partial leukonychia; punctate, transverse and longitudinal leukonychia. Some more serious variations of leukonychia partialis may lead to Leukonychia totalis.

Leukonychia striata:
Leukonychia striata, transverse leukonychia, or Mees’ lines are a whitening or discoloration of the nail in bands or “stria” that run parallel the lunula (nail base). This is commonly caused by physical injury or disruption of the nail matrix. Common examples include excessive tapping of the nails, slamming a car door or extensive use of manicure. It may also occur in great toenails as a result of trauma from footwear. Alternatively, the condition can be caused by heavy metal poisoning most commonly by lead or arsenic. It can also be caused by cirrhosis or chemotherapy. The tendency toward leukonychia striata is sometimes inherited in an autosomal dominant fashion. In other cases, it can be attributed to vigorous manicuring and trauma aforementioned, or to a wide variety of systemic illnesses. Serious infections known for high fevers, measles, malaria, herpes, and leprosy may also cause this condition. In many patients, there is no obvious cause, and the streaks resolve spontaneously. There is a similar condition called Muehrcke’s lines (apparent leukonychia) which differs from leukonychia in that the lines fade with digital compression and does not migrate with the growth of the nail.

Leukonychia punctata:
Also known as “true” leukonychia, this is the most common form of leukonychia, in which small white spots appear on the nails. Picking and biting of the nails are a prominent cause in young children and nail biters. Besides parakeratosis, air that is trapped between the cells may also cause this appearance. It is also caused by trauma. In most cases, when white spots appear on a single or a couple of fingers or toes, the most common cause is injury to the base (matrix) of the nail. When this is the case, white spots disappear after around eight weeks, which is the amount of time necessary for nails to regrow completely. The pattern and number of spots may change as the nail grows.

Longitudinal leukonychia:
Longitudinal leukonychia is far less common and features smaller 1mm white longitudinal lines visible under the nail plate. It may be associated with Darier’s disease.

Symptoms :
Some of the obvious signs of leukonychia are white spots on the fingernail. It is observed in the form of small white lines on the nails and change in color of the nails which become totally white. The white spots may also occur on toenails. The nails become colorless and brittle losing the original texture. The nail may change its color to fully white (leukonychia totalis) or half white (leukonychia partialis).
Apart from the above signs, the person affected with leukonychia may also have problems like deafness, gingivitis, and hyperkeratosis and hammer toes if they are suffering from systemic disorders.

Causes:
It can be due to nail injury or infection. Sometimes it can be due to nail disorder or bacterial infection on the nail-bed. The white spots and change of nail to full-white color is due to the presence of para-karyotic cells that contains a compound called keratohyalins. On reflection to the light the normal color of the nail looks fully white.

Leukonychia can also occur due to heavy poisoning, heart problem, kidney disease, malnutrition, vitamin deficiency and stress.
Lack of essential nutrients like zinc and protein can also cause discoloration of nails. Ulcer in advance form can affect the fingernails. Further it can be caused due to pneumonia and hepatic cirrhosis and various other skin problems.People with diseases like typhoid, cholera, rheumatic fever, and colitis may also show this symptom of white spots on fingernails.

Individuals with family history of leukonychia have more chance of developing this problem than others. Patients who are undergoing chemotherapy or radiation treatment for cancer may also get this disease. Prolonged use of nail enamels and nail hardeners can be the reason for white spots on the fingernail. Bacterial or fungal infection on the nails can cause this problem.

True Leukonychia:
This type of Leukonychia is broken into two variations, total leukonychia and partial leukonychia. The difference seems to lie in the nail being either fully white, or only two thirds discolored as it takes a while for the maturation of the keratin to occur and change.

Total Leukonychia is an autosomal dominant condition. Other circumstances that may cause total leukonychia to occur are;
*Leprosy
*Typhoid
*Cytotoxic drugs
*Nail Biting
*Partial Leukonychia is viewed as a phase of total leukonychia. The most common causes of partial leukonychia are:

*Metastatic carcinoma
*Tuberculosis
*Leprosy

There are three different variants of partial leukonychia.

1.Transverse leukonychia – This causes the nail plate to be multi colored in its opacity. It is seen mostly in women’s fingernails. Possible causes are:
*Acute respiratory infections
*High fever
*Malaria
*Leprosy

2.Punctuate leukonychia This is the most common form and can happen to anyone. The telltale symptom is that the nail appears to have tiny opaque spots which fade with time.

3.Longitudinal leukonychia – A small white line under the nail plate
Pseudo Leukonychia

*This occurs when a discoloration in the nail appears due to a change in the nail bed. Pseudo leukonychia has three different forms:

*Terry’s nails – This affects the majority of the nail and makes it multi-colored. The majority of the nail is white, the rest, pink or brown.
Muhrecke’s nails – The nail appears to have several white transverse bands

*Half and half nails – This is seen as a larger part of the nail being dull white and the rest being brownish in color.

Diagnoses :
It is easy to identify this disease by physically examining the nails of the person affected. If needed, your doctor will ask you to do blood culture and other test for measuring the nutrients like zinc and vitamins. The doctor will take a thorough medical history, and may take blood tests as well as examining liver and kidney function.

Treatment :
You can get some relief from the symptoms by including lot of nutrition in your daily diet. Proteins, vitamins and zinc are essential elements that are to be added in daily food. You can eat nuts and green leafy veggies that carry lot of zinc.

The white spots on the fingernail will gradually diminish if you start taking zinc in daily food.In case if the problem is due to anemia then you will be given folic acid and iron supplement pills. If the symptoms are due to renal failure, then your doctor will initiate treatment for the condition. Suitable medicines will be given for treating the underlying disease like liver problem or ulcer or anemia.

Do not change your nail polish frequently and always use trusted brands. Limit the usage of nail enamels and polish to certain occasions. Avoid biting your nails since it may worsen the condition.

In case if the white spots or white coloration on the fingernails does not improve for more than 2 months, you can consult your doctor who would help you to find the actual cause.

Almost in many cases, the symptoms of leukonychia are due to deficiency of nutrients and zinc and only in rare cases, it will be due to underlying systemic disorders.

Increasing the quantity of grains, vegetables and nuts and even taking a zinc supplement (as zinc deficiency is a cause of leukonychia) is a good preventative and treatment, as is keeping affected nails out of harms way when using chemicals of any kind as they can further damage the nail.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leukonychia

Leukonychia


http://diseasespictures.com/leukonychia/

Some Health Quaries & Answers

Fungus on my nails :

Q: I think I have fungal infection of my nails. They are discoloured and break easily. I also have white patches on my skin that have been diagnosed as psoriasis.

A: Psoriasis can cause nail dystrophy. This means the nails may be pitted, discoloured or have ridges, and break easily, crumble or separate from the nail bed. Sometimes this can co-exist with fungal infection of the nail or secondary bacterial infection of the nail bed.

Psoriasis of the nails has no specific treatment. The nails should be kept short. Nail varnish or henna may be used to disguise the appearance. If the psoriasis is complicated by fungal or bacterial infection, specific treatment needs to be taken after consulting a doctor.

Cat bite :

Q: My neighbour’s cat bit me. Please advise.

A: People are aware of the dangers of dog bite and immunise their dogs. Unfortunately, they don’t do the same for cats although these animals are equally likely to transmit rabies.

The wound should be cleaned with soap and water. Then an antiseptic solution (not powder or ointment) must be applied. A dose of tetanus toxoid should be taken. Proceed to take anti rabies treatment. You will need three injections if the cat is alive and healthy after your third shot. If the cat is missing, ill or dead, you need five. The injections have negligible side effects.

Green diet

Q: How much of fruit or vegetables should I eat?

A: Four to six helpings daily is considered ideal and sufficient to provide the required amount of fibre and antioxidants. It also adds bulk to the food, filling the stomach and reducing total calorific intake. You might also try adding one or two tomatoes. Tomatoes contain large quantities of lycopene, a powerful antioxidant. Unlike the nutrients in most fruits and vegetables, lycopene retains its potency after cooking and processing.

Body odour


Q: My aunt has a strange body oder . She bathes daily but the smell is all pervading.

A: Body odour can be due to sweat or disease. If she is an elderly person, it might be worthwhile to arrange a complete physical examination for her to rule out any obvious infection or cancer. She also needs to be evaluated for diabetes, liver and kidney disease. These systemic illnesses can cause altered unpleasant body odour.

Sleepy baby

Q: My baby sleeps most of the time. I am worried she’s sleeping too much.

A: The sleep requirement of infants varies widely and can fluctuate from nine to 19 hours. Some parents complain their child never sleeps while others say theirs is always sleeping. If the baby is feeding well and gaining weight, and doesn’t have constipation or diarrhoea, you probably have nothing to worry about. After all, the sleep patterns of adults too vary from four to eight hours a day.

Sugar control

Q: I read that there are several new and improved diabetic medicines in the market. But my doctor insists on the same old metformin. My diabetes is not under very good control.

A: Good control of diabetes requires dieting and exercise. If you aren’t compliant, don’t eat in a measured way and refuse to walk or exercise, your diabetes will probably stay uncontrolled. Try to correct these factors first.

Metformin is a tried and tested medication. It does not cause the blood sugars to drop to dangerously low levels. The biggest advantage is it is taken after food. Indians tend to fast on certain days. If a person administers insulin or takes medication after fasting, the sugars may drop to dangerously low levels.

School shoes

Q: My son’s school issues “regulation shoes”. These give him painful shoe bites.

A: Ensure the shoes are of the correct size and are always worn with socks. Rub a piece of Lifebuoy or Hamam soap on the dry feet before wearing them. Do not wash it off. This will prevent shoe bites.

Source: The Telegraph ( Kolkata, India)

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Nail Diseases & Disorders

Definition:
Nail diseases & disorders are distinct from diseases of the skin. Although nails are a skin appendage, they have their own signs and symptoms which may relate to other medical conditions. Nail conditions that show signs of infection or inflammation require medical assistance and cannot be treated at a beauty parlor. Deformity or disease of the nails may be referred to as onychosis.

A nail disorder is a condition caused by injury to the nail or disease or imbalance in the body.Many persons have had some type of common nail disorder at some part of their lifetime. In some cases one can cosmetically improve a nail disorder but to get a permanent result it is always wise to contact a Licensed Nail Technician.

There are many different kinds of nail diseases and disorders and some of them are mentioned below:-

Click to see the pictures

Bruised Nails
is a condition in which a clot of blood forms under the nail plate. The clot is caused by injury to the nail bed. It can vary in color from maroon to black. In some cases, a bruised nail will fall off during the healing process. Severe bruising should not be worked on.

Onychatrophia
Also known as atrophy describes the wasting away of the nail. The nail loses its shine, shrinks, and falls.
This can be caused by injury to the nail matrix or by internal disease.
Handle this condition with care

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Onychauxis
Show the opposite symptoms of onychatrophia.
Nails with this disorder are abnormally thick. The condition is usually caused by internal imbalance, local infection, or heredity.
File the nail until smooth and buff

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Onychocryptosis:

Onychocryptosis, commonly known as “ingrown nails” (unguis incarnatus), can affect either the fingers or the toes. In this condition, the nail cuts into one or both sides of the nail bed, resulting in inflammation and possibly infection.Ingrown nails is a familiar condition of the fingers and toes in which the nail grows into the sides of the tissue around the nail.If the nail is not too deeply imbedded in the flesh, you can trim the corner of the nail in a curved shape to relieve the pressure on nail groove. If it is deep they should see a doctor.

The relative rarity of this condition in the fingers suggests that pressure from the ground or shoe against the toe is a prime factor. The movements involved in walking or other physical disturbances can contribute to the problem. Mild onychocryptosis, particularly in the absence of infection, can be treated by trimming and rounding the nail. More advanced cases, which usually include infection, are treated by surgically excising the ingrowing portion of the nail down to its bony origin and thermally or chemically cauterizing the matrix, or ‘root’, to prevent recurrence. This surgery is called matrixectomy. The best results are achieved by cauterizing the matrix with phenol. Another, much less effective, treatment is excision of the matrix, sometimes called a ‘cold steel procedure’.

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Onychophagy
Is the medical term for nails that have been bitten enough to become deformed. This condition can be greatly improved by regular manicures or artificial nails.
It is not realistic to tell a nail biter to come back for artificial nails after they have grown a free edge. Artificial nails can help this person break the biting habit. There are also nail biting topically applied remedies available.

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Pterygium
Describes the common condition of the forward growth of the cuticle on the nail. The cuticle sticks to the nail plate and, if not treated, will grow over the nail to the free edge.

The nail pictured is an extreme case and will take several manicures to get the cuticle back in place.

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Leukonychia
Is a condition in which white spots appear on the nails. It is caused by air bubbles, a bruise or other injury to the nail.
Leukonchia can not be corrected but it will grow out.

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Onychorrhexis
Refers to split or brittle nails that also have a series of lengthwise ridges. It can be caused by chemicals, injury to the fingers, excessive use of cuticle solvents, nail polish removers and careless rough filing.
This condition may be corrected by softening the nails with a reconditioning treatment and discontinuing the abuse.

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Hangnails
Is a common condition in which the cuticle around the nail splits.
Hangnails are caused by dry cuticles and skin. They are also aggravated by improper trimming.
This disorder can be solved by keeping the cuticles moisturized with oil and lotion. These can become infected and very painful

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Furrows
Also known as corrugations, are long ridges that run either lengthwise or across the nail. Some lengthwise ridges are normal in adults.
These ridges increase with age and can also be caused by psoriasis, poor circulation and frostbite.
Ridges that run across the nail are caused by high fevers, pregnancy & measles

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Eggshell Nails
Are thin, white, and curved over the free edge. The condition is caused by improper diet, internal disease, medication, or nervous disorders. Be careful when manicuring these nails because they are fragile and break easily.

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Discolored Nails..
This is a condition in which the nails turn a variety including yellow, blue, blue-gray, green, red and purple. Discoloration can be caused by poor circulation, a heart condition, or topical or oral medications. It may also indicate the presence of a systemic disorder. Artificial wraps, tips or an application of colored polish can hide this condition.

To learn more about Nail Disorders you may click on….....(1)(2)….(3)….(4).…..(5)

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Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.

Resources:
http://www.beautyweb.com/Ask_the_Experts/Nails/nail_disorders.htm

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Why do White Spots Appear on our Nails?

Small semi-circular white spots may be found on the fingernails or toenails.

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These spots — called “leukonychia” — are a common occurrence, especially in children. More often than not, they simply are a sign of mild trauma to the nail. They may result from some past injury — like getting banged, stuck in a door or exercising in poorly fitting shoes — to the matrix (base) of the nail. The matrix is the part under the visi ble nail where the nail cells and the nail itself are produced. By the time the spots show up (about six weeks after the injury), you would have probably forgotten all about it.

According to some doctors, the appearance of the spots could also mean you have zinc deficiency. Others believe they are an indicator of calcium deficiency.

The spots can also be a sign of an allergic reaction to nail polish or nail hardeners and, sometimes, are a symptom of a mild infection.

Whatever the cause, they are temporary and will grow out as your nails grow. Never try to buff them off as this can lead to brittle nails. There’s no way to erase the spots.

Sources: The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)