Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease

Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease or CMT is an interesting condition that is not often discussed and most people have no idea as to what Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease is. CMT is a collection or a group of diseases that is passed down through genetics. CMT or Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease is a condition that affects the nerves that exist outside the brain and spine these particular nerves are referred to as the peripheral nerves. Neuropathy is a complex condition that is still being researched today. There is still much about neuropathy that medical professionals are not aware of such as some of the root causes for this painful condition.

 Genetic Concern

CMT is one of the most common genetic forms of neuropathy or nerve related disorders. Studies have shown that there are at least forty genes that can cause this form of disease. When a person is diagnosed with CMT the disease begins to damage the myelin sheath that surrounds the nerve fibers and brings on several painful symptoms.

Symptoms Of This Genetic Disease

The nerves that are most affected by this disease is the motor nerves. The legs feel the brunt of the pain and it is the lower extremities that feel things severely. The symptoms of CMT typically begin mid-childhood or in the early adult years and are often described as:

  • Foot  deformity (very high arch to feet)
  • Foot drop  (inability to hold foot horizontal)
  • Loss of lower  leg muscle, which leads to skinny calves
  • Numbness in  the foot or leg
  • “Slapping” gait (feet hit the floor hard when walking)
  • Weakness of the hips, legs, or feet

As the patient ages the symptoms and pain can increase to areas of the body such as the hands an arms which could in return disfigure the hand.

Treating CMT

Because there is no known cure for this painful condition those that have been diagnosed with CMT should keep in communication with their medical professional. By keeping in communication with a medical professional the patient can be made aware of new treatments that might become available as a result of modern day research. Most treatments for CMT consist of orthopedic surgery or some type of brace.

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