Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disorder (CMT) is a progressive neurological condition that can make even the simplest tasks hard to complete. CMT is an inherited neurological condition that damages the peripheral nerves in the body. Over time, nerve damage will cause muscle weakness and some loss of sensation in the feet, lower legs, hands and arms. Although CMT is a progressive disease, it is rarely life-threatening. With an accurate diagnosis and the right treatment plan, individuals with CMT can lead active, productive lives.
Symptoms and Warning Signs
In most cases, CMT surfaces in adolescence or early adulthood. However, symptoms can also show up in young children or middle-aged adults. Common warning signs include decreased sensitivity to heat, touch or pain, or body pain with unknown origins, also known as neuropathic pain. CMT can also cause muscle weakness in the hand, foot or lower leg and interfere with fine motor skills. Other symptoms include a high-stepped gait, loss of muscle mass in the lower leg or foot abnormalities, such as a high instep or hammertoe.
In more severe cases, individuals may experience speech or swallowing difficulties, hearing loss or vision problems. They may also require breathing assistance. If you or someone you love shows any of the symptoms listed above, contact your family doctor.
Since CMT is a hereditary disorder, our specialists take the time to gather the medical histories of you and your immediate family members. They may also recommend diagnostic tests, such as nerve conduction studies, electromyograms (EMG), nerve biopsies or genetic testing. Most of these services are available on-site at the John P. Murtha Neuroscience and Pain Institute. Medical specialty evaluations, including orthopedic, neurological or pain evaluations may also be recommended. Most test results are available in a few days.
Innovative outpatient treatment methods that blend traditional medicine with time-honored complementary practices serve as the foundation of the CMT Program. Under medical supervision, treatment options can include physical, occupational or respiratory therapy, orthotics, such as leg braces or shoe inserts and pain management. Complementary therapies may also be used and can include relaxation and stretching exercises, yoga, aromatherapy and chronic disease self-management.
Additional support and information on complementary therapies to help manage CMT is available through the Johnstown-based Integrative Medicine Advisory Council (IMAC).
The CMT Team
The CMT team is under the direction of board-certified physiatrist William DeMayo, MD, a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist who brings more than 20 years of experience to the position. The team includes neurologists, registered nurses, and physical/occupational/ speech therapists. Certified yoga instructors, stress management experts and aroma therapists also provide complementary therapies to help individuals manage CMT.
All CMT services and physician appointments are provided at:
John P. Murtha Neuroscience and Pain Institute
1450 Scalp Avenue
Johnstown, PA 15904
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For more information about CMT and its treatment options, please contact us. You can also find additional resources at www.charcot-marie-tooth.org.