CMT is a condition that affects the nerves in your legs and arms, known as the peripheral nerves.
Our body’s system of nerves is similar to a network of electrical wires. Some of them, called sensory nerves, are designed to pass information back to the brain about what you can feel with your fingers, toes, legs and arms, etc. The others are command pathways, telling your muscles to do something, like lift your left foot – and are called motor nerves.
Because CMT affects both types of peripheral nerve, you may experience motor problems as the command pathways fail to respond properly, causing weakness and wasting in your muscles and numbness/sensory problems, arising from the problems with the sensory nerves.
In brief, this is CMT:
* is not life threatening
* affects people very differently, even within the same family
* slowly gets worse of time (is progressive), causing gradual deterioration of both the motor nerves and the sensory nerves
* this deterioration causes the atrophy of the muscles in the foot, lower leg, hand and forearm
* can cause foot drop walking gate, foot bone abnormalities (including high arches and hammer toes), problems with hand function and dexterity, balance problems, occasional cramping in the legs and arms and loss of some normal reflexes
* may cause long term pain and chronic tiredness
* mobility problems can be eased / helped by the use of leg and wrist splints, walking sticks / crutches, wheelchairs and other mobility aids
* is usually passed on from parent to child, with a 50% chance of the child inheriting the condition
* is thought to affect approximately 23,000 people in the UK
* Affects all ethnic groups equally throughout the world
* Is the focus a major genetic research, bringing us closer to answering the CMT enigma
Go BACK to CMT Info to read about Charcot Marie Tooth disease in more detail.
Home Page Last Updated 19 March 2010
Page Last Updated 19 March 2010