Nail fungus occurs in 10% of Americans, making it an already common ailment. However, the occurrence of nail fungus in the elderly doubles in seniors, infecting 20% of adults over the age of 60. After the age of 70, the prevalence of nail fungus further skyrockets, leading to a 50% infection rate. This is quite the stark difference, and it is natural to wonder why it is that the elderly are more prone to nail fungus.
There are a number of different factors that contribute to the higher rate of nail fungus in the elderly. As people get older, there is reduced oxygen flow to the extremities, which means nails grow more slowly and the area is more susceptible to infections, including nail fungus. Our immunity also naturally worsens as we get older, so it is more difficult for the body to fight off nail fungus should it come into contact with the fungal spores. The nails, along with the skin, also become drier and develop cracks in them, thereby creating openings in the natural barrier that the nail creates, and leaving a route of entry for fungal spores to reach the nail. Furthermore, since seniors are less active, they are less likely to notice the nail fungus as it starts to infect them, which allows the condition to progress and worsen.
Since seniors have lower immunity, cases of nail fungus tend to be more severe, and may spread to other parts of the body or people around them. If you or someone you know are displaying signs of nail fungus, contact us today to schedule a free consultation with one of our doctors at one of our over 120 locations nationwide.