Last Modified on Jul 04, 2014
Many health conditions can be illusive or even deceiving, and Charcot Marie Tooth disease is no different. Upon first hearing the name, you likely thought this condition had something to do with your mouth; however, it actually has nothing to do with your teeth or gums but is rather a condition that affects the nerves in your arms and legs (named for the three doctors who discovered it in 1886). In any case, while there are no cures for the disease, a number of different therapies and supplements are effective for managing the condition including vitamin C, physical therapy, and yoga.
What Is Charcot Marie Tooth Disease?
Also known as hereditary motor and sensory neuropathy, Charcot Marie Tooth disease (CMT) is actually a name used to categorize a group of hereditary disorders. These issues damage the nerves in your arms or legs or your “peripheral nerves.”
The symptoms of the condition are sometimes hard to identify initially as the disease typically develops asymptomatically. As the condition progresses, you will likely experience weakness in your legs and feet, muscle loss in your legs and feet, high foot arches, curled toes, decreased ability to run, difficulty lifting your feet, awkward or higher than normal gait, frequent tripping or falling, and decreased sensation or feeling in your legs and feet. These symptoms may also develop in your hands and arms.
Are There Any Natural Cures for Charcot Marie Tooth Disease?
While there are not any known cures for the condition, there are a number of treatment options that can help you manage Charcot Marie Tooth disease. Most individuals experience little to no pain in conjunction with the disease, so the focus of treatment generally lies within maintaining muscle mass and use. Effective remedies for the condition include physical therapy, stretching or yoga, and exercise. Vitamin C has also been recently identified as an effective supplement for treating the condition.
1. Physical Therapy
As CMT often involves the weakening of muscles, physical therapy and strength training are important treatment options. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the most effective physical therapy regimens involve muscle strength training, ligament stretching, stamina training and aerobic exercise. Therapists typically create a treatment program paired with a home exercise program to help affected individuals maintain and even improve muscle strength and flexibility.
As muscle rigidity is another issue associated with Charcot Marie Tooth, stretching is an important component of treatment. Yoga is one of the most effective training practices for improving flexibility and balance. Yoga also helps realign the body and correct any issues in muscle development.
3. Vitamin C
Dr. Davide Pareyson of the National Neurological Institute presents vitamin C as an effective treatment for CMT. Research suggests that vitamin C effectively limits and even reverses neuropathy. The nutrient does so as it is an antioxidant that decreases the expression of the hereditary material that causes CMT. For the best results, begin taking 75mg of vitamin C by mouth every day.
As research continues, more treatment options are uncovered for Charcot Marie Tooth. Read below for more reader-contributed suggestions for how to cope with and treat CMT.
Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease Fact Sheet - http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/ charcot_marie_tooth/detail_charcot_marie_tooth.htm
Diseases and Conditions: Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease - http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/charcot-marie-tooth-disease/basics/definition/con-20029920
Vitamin C for the Treatment of Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease - http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/ ss06/charcotmarietooth.html
Charcot Marie-Tooth Disease
My husband's family has a history of Charcot's. He is now 60 and in the last few years I have noticed a change in his gait (walks slower with possible footdrop). He has no pain as yet but has some tingling and weakness in his legs. Charcot's is described as a degeneration of the mylin of the nerves. He has not seen a doctor for this as yet but we are looking for supplements or other therapies that might slow or stop the degeneration of the mylin. I would appreciate Ted's advice on this but any information from anyone would also be appreciated.