Dark brown lines on my finger nails?

Patient

Q: I have a brown darkening, vertical line in my index finger nail (right hand) for the past 2-3 years. I didn't take much notice of it yet a couple of weeks ago, I realized it darkened grew a bit wider as well. I haven't found much of anything online and my pediatrician (I'm 18) said he has no idea what could be the issue. It has also started to grow on my middle finger nail and thumb nail on my left hand. Out of all the possible diseases, endocarditis seems most fit, God forbid, of course. Please help.

Doctor

A:   Thank you for your question. There could be several causes of your nail discolouration. One common of this could be due to a fungal infection of the nails. This can be a very persistent infection requiring a long course of antifungal medication to completely clear this infection. Nutritional deficiencies or heavy metal toxicity can also lead to discolouration of the nails. In order to get to the exact cause of your presentation, it is important to have your nails examined by your doctor. If this is a fungal infection you will likely be started on a course of oral antifungal medication to which you must remain very compliant with in order to successfully treat this infection.

Thank you for consulting AskTheDoctor.com

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