Symptoms of Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease
CMT is characterized by progressive muscle weakness, but other symptoms such as fatigue can greatly affect patients’ quality of life. Fatigue is common in CMT patients and may be caused by sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome, or muscles having to work harder, expending more energy.
CMT can damage cochlear nerves, which then reduces a patient’s ability to hear, and usually occurs in both ears. Hearing loss can range from mild to severe in CMT, and patients usually have difficulty hearing mid- and high-frequency sounds.
Some CMT patients may experience respiratory muscle weakness as a result of the disease, which can affect their ability to breathe. Rarely in CMT, the phrenic nerve, which controls the diaphragm muscle, may be affected, causing breathing problems.
In CMT, the uneven weakening of muscles results in joints being pulled on unequally, which can eventually shift bones into abnormal positions and result in scoliosis, where the spine develops an abnormal sideways curvature.