Nail fungus can be painful and may cause permanent damage to your nails. It also may lead to other serious infections that can spread beyond your feet if you have a suppressed immune system due to medication, diabetes or other conditions.

Fungal infections of the nail pose the most serious health risk for people with diabetes and for those with weakened immune systems, such as people with leukemia or AIDS or organ transplant recipients.

If you have diabetes, your blood circulation and the nerve supply to your feet can become impaired. You're also at greater risk for cellulitis, a potentially serious bacterial skin infection. Therefore, any relatively minor injury to your feet — including a nail fungal infection — can lead to a more serious complication, requiring timely medical care. See your doctor immediately if you suspect nail fungus.

Aug. 25, 2011

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