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Onychomycosis Fungal infections are often uncomfortable conditions and they can have both physical and psychological consequences to the individual. Onychomycosis (OM) is one of the fungal diseases that results from a dermatophytic invasion of the nails. Fortunately, in the last few years, new oral treatment has successfully lowered the incidence of recurrence and side effects (Tosti & Piraccini, 1996). What is Onychomicosis? OM can be referred to as a localized infection of the nail, caused by a pathogenic fungi. It is characterized by discoloration and thickening of the nail, and thus, the nails are often thick, yellow, or brittle. OM can cause pain and discomfort, but it is mainly a receptacle for infection (Mooney, 1993). OM includes a subgroup of nail infections with dermatophytic fungi known as tinea unguium. The three clinial types of tinea unguium are: distal subungual OM, proximal subungual OM, and superficial white OM (Morris, Gurevitch, & Edwards, 1992). Distal subungual OM features thickening and opacification of the nail plate along the distal borders(Hay, 1986). In proximal subungual OM, a white spot appears beneath the proximal nail fold and may extend distally to involve the deeper layers of the nail. The surface is the initial site of invasion in superficial white OM. The surface becomes roughened and the nail plate crumbles easily, acquiring a yellow color (Arnold, Odom, & James, 1990). Etiology Twenty percent of all nail disease can be attributed to fungi (Morris, Gurevitch, & Edwards, 1992). The main micro-organism that causes OM is a dermatophyte: Trichophyton rubrum, Trichophyton mentagrophyte, Trichophyton interdigit... ... middle of paper ... ....S. (November, 1997). "Special topics on onychomycosis." [On-line]. Available: http://www.apma.org/JAPMA/vol8711.htm Mooney, J. (1993). A review of current treatments for toenail mycoses. Journal British Podiatric Medicine, 2, 5-6. Morris, M.I., Gurevitch, A., & Edwards, J.E., Jr. (1992). Fungal infections of the skin. In S.L. Gorbach, J.G. Bartlett, & N.R. Blacklow (Eds.), Infectious diseases (pp. 1086-1087). Philadelphia, PA: W.B. Sauders Co. Physician's desk reference (1997). Montvale, NJ: Medical Economics Company, Inc. Soignee, M. (1998). "Onychomycosis." [On-line]. Available: http://www.skinsite.com/info_onychomycosis.htm Tosti, A. & Piraccini, B.M. (1996). Diseases of the nail. In R.E. Rakel (Ed.), Conn's current therapy (pp. 763-764). Philadelphia PA: W.B. Saunders Co.
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