Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT) is the most common hereditary sensorimotor neuropathy, seen in 1 in every 2500 patients. It is a disorder that causes damage to the peripheral nerves—these are the nerves that transmit signals and info from the brain and spinal cord to and from the rest of the body, as well as sensory information (like touch). CMT can also directly affect the nerves that control the muscles.
The affected nerves lead to progressive muscle weakness, which typically becomes noticeable in adolescence or early adulthood, however onset of disease can occur at any age. Due to longer nerves being affected first, symptoms usually begin in the feet and lower legs and then fingers, hands, and arms. Foot deformities can occur due to changes in the intrinsic muscles of the foot. Most with CMT have some amount of physical disability, however some individuals may never know they have the disease. There are many different genotypes of CMT, meaning presentations among patients will have many different considerations.
Fact: CMT is named for the three physicians who described it in 1886.