Charcot Marie Tooth Disease Information: A Lower Leg Condition

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Neurological problems are usually difficult to determine and hard to trace because the true causes are not fully known. Charcot Marie Tooth disease or CMT disease is a genetic neurologic problem that will present a number of symptoms that can lead to debilitating effects among patients. The condition can affect people of all ages. Knowing more about the condition as well as understanding the development of Charcot Marie Tooth disease will be helpful in providing sound treatment and reliable techniques that help patients cope.

Charcot Marie Tooth Disease Information

Charcot Marie Tooth disease (CMT) information was first discovered by French doctor Jean Martin Charcot in 1886 and Pierre Marie, his student. They noticed how patients displayed muscle weakness and deterioration particularly in the legs. The condition was initially referred to as peroneal muscular atrophy. Also in 1886, Howard Henry Tooth in Cambridge described the effects of the condition, referring to it as peroneal progressive muscular atrophy. He also presented the symptoms that pointed out the association with neuropathy. The thickened nerves were discovered by Dr. Hoffman in 1912. At first the condition was called Hoffman disease and then was later referred to as Charcot Marie Tooth Disease.

The Types of Charcot Marie Tooth Disease

There are five forms of CMT disease namely CMT1, CMT2, CMT3, CMT4 and CMTX. The first type or CMT1 is characterized by changes in the myelin sheath. Under this type are three subtypes called CMT1A, CMT1B and CMT1C. There are genetic differences among the three. CMT2 is generally characterized by changes in the axon of the peripheral nerve cell. CMT2 also has several subtypes that are differentiated by structural characteristics. CMT3 is also called Dejerine-Sottas disease which usually starts during infancy. It is a rare condition wherein infants show muscle weakness and sensory changes. CMT4 involves several subtypes that are characterized by mutations in the gene. Finally, CMTX is manifested in Schwann cells and involves the X chromosome.

The Symptoms of Charcot Marie Tooth Disease

Patients afflicted with Charcot Marie Tooth disease will have problems with their sensory and motor nerves. The person may exhibit deterioration or weakness of the muscles in the feet and lower legs. This is why many patients will present hammertoes and foot deformities. They will also have difficulty walking, performing fine motor skills and balancing. The signs and symptoms usually begin during the teenage years but there are also cases that start when a person is already 30 or 40 years old.

Treating Charcot Marie Tooth Disease

Treatment of Charcot Marie Tooth disease will involve coping techniques to help patients resume normal and healthy living. There is no known cure for the condition. People have to rely on different therapies like occupational therapy, physical therapy and visualization techniques to help the person create a realistic and practical plan for long term stability. There are also medications that will help alleviate discomfort and pain in the affected areas. The therapies are intended to boost muscle strength and preserve muscle mass in the area.