|Team CMT at Bike New York|
By Gretchen Glick
Charcot Marie Tooth disease, Multiple Sclerosis and Muscular Dystrophy are three distinct problems within the body's neurological system.
Starting at the brain, the neuromuscular system acts as the body's master computer. Signals are sent to the muscles through the spinal cord which acts as an intermediate connecting cable. This hooks up to the peripheral nerves which are the connecting lines between brain and muscle.
- Frequent tripping, ankle sprains, clumsiness and burning sensations in the hands and feet.
- Structural foot deformities; high arches and hammer toes
- Muscle wasting in the lower legs and feet may lead to foot drop, poor balance and gait.
- Muscular atrophy in the hands causes difficulty with tasks involving manual dexterity such as writing, opening jars, closing zippers and buttons.
- Abnormal sensation in the extremities and loss of proprioception is also common, and some patients experience neuropathic pain.
- Poor tolerance for cool or cold temperatures. Many with CMT have chronically cold hands and feet.
- May experience fatigue (75% CMT patients report) because it takes nerve signals twice as long to reach muscles. It is thought it takes twice the energy to do tasks.
- Additional symptoms include sleep apnea, breathing difficulties, swallowing difficulties, scoliosis and hearing loss.
Multiple Sclerosis is a disease of the central nervous system. It affects both movement and sensory perception and sometimes, thinking processes. It is not a hereditary disease. It is an inflammatory disease of the immune system in which the fatty myelin sheaths around the axons of the brain and spinal cord are damaged, leading to demyelization and scarring as well as a broad spectrum of symptoms. The cause is unknown. Multiple Sclerosis has 4 forms, with new symptoms occurring either as indiscreet attacks (relapsing forms) or slowly accumulating over time (progressive forms). Between attacks, symptoms may go away completely, but permanent neurological problems often occur, especially as the disease advances. MS can be more common in women than men. Life expectancy of people with MS is 5 to 10 years lower than that of the unaffected The name Multiple Sclerosis refers to the scars (scleroses â€" better known as plaques or lesions) that form in the nervous system. MS lesions most commonly involve white matter areas close to the ventricles of the cerebellum, brain stem, basal ganglia and spinal cord; and the optic nerve.