Clear up Yellowed, Thickened and Cracked Toenails Once and for all

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Last Update: 6 June 2020 by Marc Woodard

If you or someone you know has yellowed, thickened, cracked and/or swollen and inflamed toenails, it is caused from a fungus called onychomycosis [which literally means fungal infection of the nail].

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Typically this disease is caused by a fungal tinea species and can also be caused by a candida yeast fungal species. It is also possible to spread these tiny microorganisms to friends and family when good hygiene is not the standard. Either species of fungus can cause a progressive condition that can infect one or more nails, causing them to thicken, discolor, crumble and separate from the toenail bed and cause a foul odor (Dutra 2014).

Good news – This infection can be removed and healthy pink toenails can be yours once again.

What is this fungus and how do we get it? Environmental conditions necessary for it to survive and spread include: Sweaty feet with cotton socks, or socks that don’t breathe, or hold moisture and can cause more than one toenail to become infected. Public use areas that are warm, humid and moist; such as locker rooms, pools, saunas, gyms, even home showers shared by family members are suspect. These are perfect environments for these organisms to infect others through bare foot surface contact.

Once the fungus resides within the toe and nail tissues, your footwear and improper hygiene can sustain the culture, then cultivate and spread it as long as the environmental conditions remain consistent. Acquiring the fungus has mostly to do with improper hygiene and footwear.

Public use showers and locker room floors are fungus cultivating environments.

There appear to be other factors that include age and other medical conditions that can cause more severe foot and toenail problems. These other factors may include abnormal PH skin, poor circulation, Athlete’s foot, diabetes, immune problems, another infection or injury of toe or nail and skin psoriasis (MayoClinic 2011). It is said before a person reaches 70 years old, there is a 50/50 chance of contracting this fungal condition.

A mechanical or tissue breach may also make you prone or susceptible to acquiring this infection. For instance, when you wear an improperly fitted, or undersized shoe and walk in a way that creates a bio-mechanical foot-toe friction, an opportunity is provided to the fungus which infects tissue. For example, when the end of the big and small toe nails repeatedly catch friction between the toes and shoe material, a loosening of the nail(s) from the toe bed(s) can lead to micro-trauma of both skin and nails. Micro cracks in skin and nails present a perfect opportunity for bacteria to set in and spread its infectious fungus (Dutra 2014).

Also beware, unsterilized salon-home nail clippers, emery boards or other instruments can become infected and spread the fungus. And once it’s on your toenails… after clipping them, it is possible to spread it to the fingernails if you don’t wash your hands.

And if you use a lot of toenail and fingernail polish to cover discolored nails, this may sustain the life of the fungus indefinitely. Because of the way nail polish seals in bacteria and moisture, the tissue does not breathe or heal well.

Marc Woodard  tending to foot health while
hiking in the Nevada Desert, 2017.

If this fungal infection goes untreated it can continue on indefinitely and may cause, or contribute to increased health risks caused by other medical complications. “When the immune system is weakened due to other medical conditions especially those with Aids, leukemia or have received an organ transplant serious health risk may result” (MayoClinic 2011).

There are medical treatments, pharmaceuticals and natural remedies you can use that may remove this fungus once and for all. However, if you have a medical condition and/or infection is causing extreme pain and is of health concern, it is wise to seek medical attention in treating this disease immediately.

Your medical treatment options,

It is highly recommended you make an appointment with your primary care doctor or podiatrist for proper treatment of fungal foot, toe, toenail or fingernail infection. Your doctor will likely prescribe one of the following topical medications: For mild infection this may likely include one of four applications: Formula 3, Elon, Fungasil, or Penlac. For a more serious condition an oral antifungal drug may be prescribed, such as Sporanox or Lamisil.

Before oral medication is prescribed your doctor will likely need to assess your health risk through lab work. This assessment is done to determine the functionality of your liver and what prescriptions are safe for your use.

Doctors often prescribe antifungal powders with orals to increase the odds that the fungal infections will stay neutralized or completely abated.

Natural treatments may remove or improve this condition. The most popular ones are listed.

  1. Vinegar soaking [1 part vinegar/2 part water], ~ 20 minutes daily; no less than 2-3 times per week.
  2. Some even treat this fungus with a daily application of Vicks Vapor Rub. However it is wise to consult your doctor about this as there is no known study that proves it will kill this fungus.
  3. Apple Cider Vinegar [soak foot in equal parts mixed with water].
  4. Tea Tree Oil [swab pure oil on nail, or dilute with equal parts olive oil or thyme oil to apply to skin]. I’ve found this treatment to be one of the most affective at killing the fungus, when treatment continues for 2 months. However, it may return when proper footwear and hygiene in not addressed.
  5. White vinegar [considered the best solution in dealing with toe nail fungus]. 1 part vinegar to 2 parts water, soak 15 minutes daily].
  6. Garlic has allicin and is an anti-fungal element [use equal parts garlic and olive oil]. If you don’t have garlic oils, crush two garlic cloves and two Tsps. of olive oil. Let mixture stand 24 hours, then apply and cover with bandage daily], (Top10 2014).
Before and after treatment
Before and after treatment

Note: All natural treatments mentioned here are strictly informational. We do not provide medical advice. Consult with your doctor or other health care provider before using any of these tips or treatments.

How can you prevent toenail fungus from developing?

  1. Purchase properly fitted shoes that breathe and provide enough room for your toes.
  2. Wear sandals when appropriate.
  3. Air out shoes, throw away over worn socks and shoes.
  4. Change socks daily and especially after sweating in them and don’t wear socks that absorb moisture.
  5. Use anti-fungus powders and sprays; maintain short, dry and clean nails.
  6. Don’t pick at skin around nails even when there is infection.
  7. If you have your toenails manicured by a saloon, ensure they sterilize and disinfect instruments prior to use.
  8. After social functions remove nail polish.
  9. Bare foot walking in public places should be avoided.
  10. See your podiatrist if you have foot and/or toe fungus.

A new treatment in the marketplace that appears to be promising is photodynamic laser therapy. This is where intense light is focused on a nail where an acid is applied as part of the protocol to kill the fungus.

No more embarrassing reasons not to go barefooted.

Remove this fungus once and for all and get back the health of your toenails. These medical treatments and natural tips have worked well for others and they can work well for you. Make the effort to see your doctor and/or apply a treatment that will work to remove this fungus once and for all.

Works Cited and Reference

Bing. “Toenail Fungus Pictures and Free – Bing Images.” Bing Images – Toenail and Fingernail Fungus. Microsoft. Web. 23 May 2014.

Dutra, Tim, Dr. “Toenail Fungus.” FootVitals. IMG Health Publications, 28 Apr. 2014. Web. 22 May 2014.

MayoClinic. “Nail Fungus.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 25 Aug. 2011. Web. 23 May 2014.

Top 10. “How to Get Rid of Toenail Fungus.” Top 10. Top 10 Home Remedies. Web. 23 May 2014.

Woodard, Marc T. “Diabetes A Serious Disease.” MirrorAthlete Fitness Secrets. MirrorAthlete, 19 September 2017. Web. 19 September 2017.

Author: Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, ARNG, CPT, RET. 2023 Copyright. All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Inc., www.mirrorathlete.org, Sign up for your Free eNewsletter.

Awareness to Five Reproductive System Cancer Signs, Symptoms and Treatment

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Sustaining overall good health for women includes awareness to the signs and symptoms of an unhealthy reproductive system and seeking treatment when necessary to reduce illness and disease which include cancer

During the childbearing years the wall lining of the uterus grows and thickens in preparation for pregnancy. If a woman does not become pregnant menstruation occurs as the thick wall lining releases excess blood flow through the vagina. Since the uterus is integral by proximity to the lymph nodes, nerves, and blood vessels, if metastatic uterine cancer is present, it can spread to other areas of the reproductive system.


ResearchGate
Sites of gynaecological cancers in the female reproductive tract.

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Metastatic uterine (endometrial) cancer is a type of cancer that originated in the lining of the uterus (endometrium) and has spread to distant areas of the body. In general, uterine cancer can metastasize to the rectum or bladder. Other areas where it may spread include the vagina, ovaries and fallopian tubes.

Knowledge of normal uterine function to include timely abnormal symptom diagnosis and treatment provides optimum prevention against cancer.

[Google 2022]

ResearchGate
Sites of gynecological cancers in the female reproductive tract.

A healthy uterine system is dependent on a normal cell replacement and repair life cycle. If this cycle becomes a mutated cycle; benign (not cancerous), or malignant (cancerous) tumors may grow and spread throughout the body. Common tumors that may or may not impact a womans reproductive system and overall health: 1) Fibroids – These are common benign tumors that grow in the muscle of the uterus. They tend to reduce in size and may disappear once a woman reaches menopause. Surgery may be necessary with discomfort. 2) Endometrial Hyperplasia – “An increasing cell production which thickens the lining of the uterus. Those with abnormal bleeding before or after, or heavy menstrual periods should seek treatment. Hyperplasia mostly presents itself for women in their forties and is the most common cancer of the uterus lining.

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Cancer Symptoms Associated with Reproductive System


CDC
What Are the Symptoms of Gynecologic Cancers? | CDC

Risk Factors: Fifty and over – obesity and high blood pressure. You have endometrial hyperplasia.  Use Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) for menopause, osteoporosis, used also to reduce risk of heart disease and stroke. White women are more likely than African American women to get uterus cancer. If diagnosed with colorectal cancer you are at higher risk of uterus cancer.

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Recommendations for Uterus Cancer Diagnosis, Prevention and Treatment

1. Seek Treatment if it is difficult or painful to urinate, or if you notice unusual vaginal bleeding or discharge. To include pain during intercourse or pain in pelvic area.
2. Get a second opinion if prognosis is daunting. Cancer Info Services 1800-4-CANCER or Seek Official ABMS (American Board Certified Medical Specialists) 1-885-275-2267.
3. Have a pelvic exam scheduled for lumps, changes within size/shape of vagina, uterus, bladder, and rectum.
4. Ask your medical provider about Transvaginal Ultrasound -It is a high-frequency instrument inserted through the vagina. It echoes an image of the uterus endometrium wall. A thick wall may require a biopsy.
5. Pap Test – Cervix and upper vagina cell samples are collected and analyzed in a medical laboratory.
6. In order to stop malignant tumor growth, surgery to remove the uterus (hysterectomy), or treatment with hormones (progesterone) is the standard course of action.
7. Uterus Radiation Treatment – Outpatient external body therapy aimed at the tumor area 5 days a week for several weeks. Radiation application may necessitate Internal Radiation – Whereas tiny tubes containing radiation particulates are released through the vagina. Protocol may include progesterone therapy.
8. Increased protein during cancer treatment is important in the diet, it promotes healing, strength, energy & healthy body weight.
________________________________________________________________________
Author: Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET2023 Copyright. All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Publishing @: www.mirrorathlete.org,

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Alzheimer’s Often Leads to Dementia

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Dementia is a name for a group of brain disorders, whereas one or more of them, including Alzheimer’s destroys brain function within centers of the brain by way of various pathologies. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common brain disorder. It is defined as a cognitive fuction decline beyond what might be expected as normal aging. Dementia is not a specific disease but rather a term for the severity of impairment to remember, think, perform daily tasks, and make everyday decisions.

“The risk of developing Alzheimer’s or vascular dementia appears to be increased by many conditions that damage the heart and blood vessels. These include heart disease, diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.”

Alzheimer’s Association 2022

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Alzheimer’s most devastating characteristics is the destruction of the brains neural conductors. Whereby memory loss is progressive, then worsens throughout time, causing the inability to communicate, swallow and feed oneself and ultimately shorten lifespan. Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia and leading cause of death in the United States. Those 60 years and older are at increased risk of getting Alzheimer’s disease.

“Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive neurologic disorder that causes the brain to shrink (atrophy) and brain cells to die. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia — a continuous decline in thinking, behavioral and social skills that affects a person’s ability to function independently.”

[Mayo Clinic 2022]

Alzheimer’s affects approximately 5.8 million people in the United States by gradually destroying memory cells. Fortunately, current treatment can slow down the progression and destruction of brain function significantly and decrease the chance of becoming a dementia statistic. Once diagnosed with Alzheimer’s the average mortality rate is 10 years. However, there are many who beat these averages and live more than 20 years after diagnosis. The younger population is not immune from Alzheimer’s. Those at greatest risk for developing some forms of Dementia are 65 and older. “Out of the ~50 million people worldwide with dementia, between 60-70% are estimated to have Alzheimer’s disease [Mayo Clinic 2022].

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Dementia pathology (disease cause, progression and development), impacts the cortical and sub cortical brain function and can manifest its symptoms and progressive disease through known and unknown cause agents. Nutrition, diet and/or behavioral deficiencies known to influence and lead toward the development of a severe brain disorder:

Key pathologies and nutritional deficiencies that lead to Dementia. Alzheimer’s Alcohol-Induced Dementia, Frontal Lobe Degeneration, Huntington’s, Hypothyroidism, Parkinsons, Vitamin B1, B12, Folate Deficiency, Syphilis, Hypoglycemia, AIDS Dementia Complex, Severe Depression, End Stage Renal Failure, Cardiovascular Disease, etc.

Another factor that could increase risk to Alzheimer's include genetics. 
  • To decrease odds of Alzheimer’s, especially if genetically predisposed [someone in the family has/had Alzheimer’s], make healthy lifestyle choices which include: Maintain healthy diet and body weight, avoid excess alcohol consumption and avoid smoking. Exercise daily and avoid unnecessary stressors. Also look to nurture positive relationships and socialize in healthy environments. These are the best medicines to ward off brain disorders.

“There is a great deal of interest, … in the relationship between cognitive decline and vascular conditions such as heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure, as well as metabolic conditions such as diabetes and obesity.”

National Institute on Aging 2022

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Awareness to possible cause pathologies, signs and symptoms and treatment options will assist greatly in the prevention of cognitive decline and brain disorder(s). There is an extensive list of pharmaceuticals that appear to slow down the progression of any one of the cause pathologies leading to Alzheimer’s and dementia. Talk to your Geriatric and/or Psychiatrist-Neurologist to learn more about a treatment protocol for you, or a loved one. There is no cure for dementia, prevention is the best course. 

Recommendations:
1. See Geriatric Psychiatrist-Neurologist if patient is forgetful, confused, doesn’t recognize people.
2. If diagnosed with a dementia disorder seek medication to slow down the progression.
3. Dementia Prevention – Live an active mental-physical lifestyle, read books, work puzzles, get involved in community activities, services, volunteer, work, daily walks aerobic exercise, etc.
4. Studies show moderate (1-2 Drinks/day) consumption of beer, wine, or distilled spirits may help. “A recent meta-analysis of observational studies concluded that light to moderate alcohol consumption is associated with a reduced risk of dementia, whereas both abstinence and heavy drinking are associated with a higher risk of dementia
” [Google Search 2022]
5. Low blood pressure medications appear to have a dementia health benefit per medical studies.
6. Mediterranean Diet – Consume plant foods (fruits and Vegetables), olive oil, cheese, yogurt, fish, poultry, no more then 1-4 eggs/week, keep total fat intake at 25%, consume less red meat.
7. Supplement diet with a quality daily mineral-vitamin and cognitive brain complex supplement
.

Author: Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET. 2022 Copyright. All rights reserved, MirrorAthlete Publishing @ www.mirrorathlete.org.