Charcot Disease

Below you will find more information about Charcot Disease from Medigest. If you believe that you are suffering from any of the symptoms of Charcot Disease it is important that you obtain an accurate diagnosis from a medical professional to ensure that you obtain the correct medication or treatment for your condition. There are medical conditions that carry similar symptoms associated with Charcot Disease and therefore the information provided by Medigest is offered as a guideline only and should never be used in preference to seeking professional medical advice. The information relating to Charcot Disease comes from a third party source and Medigest will not be held liable for any inaccuracies relating to the information shown.

Definition

Charcot's Disease, or more commonly known as Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, is a neurodegenerative disease caused by the gradual death of motor neurons which control muscle movement. This illness usually causes muscle weakness and progressive atrophy, making the person lose his ablity to make voluntary movements in all parts of his body except for his eyes. Eventually the disease can lead to dementia and death.

Treatment

There is no specific cure for Charcot's disease at present, but the drug Riluzole is believed to be capable of reducing damages to the motor neurons by lowering the body's production of glutamate. The drug however is not able to heal the damages brought about by the disease but it has greatly contributed to prolonging the life of patients with the disease. Aside from Riluzole, doctors prescribe other medications to ease the pain felt by the patient, as well as proper diets that are easily swallowed. Since Charcot's disease affects the person's cognitive abilities, this eventually progresses into an emotional burden for the patient given that he can no longer do simple asks on his own. Thus it is a must to provide moral support to the patient to keep him from getting depressed, and this requires the presence of family members and friends, as well as consistent counseling and participating in worthwhile activities suited to the patient's condition.

Symptoms and Signs

A person with Charcot's Disease first experience twitching of muscles, cramps and stiffness, but these are often overlooked as they seem to be normal conditions experienced by people. However, when these conditions persist over a long period of time coupled with weakness in the upper and lower limbs and problematic nasal speech, a doctor may then suspect the person to have the disease. This disease becomes more evident as the person loses control of manual dexterity such as writing and other simple tasks involving the hands. Eventually he will lose the ability to control muscle movements and in time will no longer be able to stand on his own, or even swallow food. The other brain functions however are not affected by the disease.

Causes

Studies have not yet found the exact cause for Charcot's disease. Doctors however link the disease to a number of risk factors such as exposure to heavy metals or neurotoxins, genetic defects, problems with the immune system as well as virus and enzyme abnormalities. Other scientists suspect that Charcot's disease comes from a defect on a person's chromosome 21. Studies have shown that children diagnosed with this genetic defect have higher risks of acquiring Charcot's disease as compared to those who don't.

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