Among the first symptoms of fingernail fungus is a yellow or yellowish discoloration of the fingernail. It’s mild, and might go undetected, especially if you wear nail polish, but it will probably progress over time. The color change is caused by the fungus producing colored pigments as it develops and has established under the fingernail.
Fungus grows slowly in toenails and fingernails, so the yellow color might be the only indication of disease you see for quite some time. It’s very likely that in some cases, the body’s immune system succeeds in fighting off the fungal disease: if this occurs, the discoloration will go away. The immune system finds it difficult to resist the uterus, however, since the growth is truly extending to the nail itself, where antibodies and immune cells can not go.
Oftentimes, therefore, the fungus grows unchecked, and before too long, more symptoms of fingernail fungus appear. More advanced symptoms of fingernail fungus occur when the nail begins to come apart. Fingernails and toenails are in fact composed of dead cells, much like skin cells: in the root of the nail, the dead cells are stacked in layers, such as many layers of fall leaves, packed closely together. As a growing number of nail forms in the origin, it pushes the remainder of the nail out on the nail bed.
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When fungus begins to grow through these layers of cells, they come away from each other – which is why one of the indications of fingernail fungus is a thickened flaky nail. The discoloration may get worse also since there’s more development of alopecia there, and more pigment being generated. Fingernails and toenails, and hair, contain a protein called keratin. The outer layer of dead skin cells all over our bodies also comprises this protein: it functions as a horny protective covering for our skin.
This protein is the most important nutrient source for those kinds of fungi that grow on human skin and hair, and this explains why fungal nail infections often spread to the surrounding skin. Thus, one of the indications of fingernail fungus, especially if it was untreated for some time, is flaking, scaling skin, and even inflammation and redness of the fingers and feet around infected nails.