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Country Music Hall of Famer Alan Jackson revealed Tuesday that he has been diagnosed with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease — a group of disorders that cause nerve damage — which has affected his ability to move and keep balance on stage.
In an interview with the "TODAY" show's Jenna Bush Hager, Jackson, 62, said he inherited the disease from his father, and it has affected several members of his family. He was diagnosed 10 years ago.
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"It's been affecting me for years, and it's getting more and more obvious," Jackson said. "And I know I'm stumbling around on stage and now I'm having a little trouble balancing even in front of the microphone, and so I just feel very uncomfortable, and I just want people to know that's why I look like I do."
“It’s been affecting me for years.”
Ten years ago, country music superstar Alan Jackson was diagnosed with a degenerative nerve condition affecting his ability to walk. Now, for the first time, he opens up about his health struggles to @JennaBushHager. pic.twitter.com/IkrQOeixjR
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) September 28, 2021
He said he doesn't want fans to feel sorry for him, adding that the disease is "not fatal, (but) it's gonna disable me, eventually."
Here's what we know about Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease.
What is Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease?
According to Mayoclinic.org, Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease "is a group of inherited disorders that cause nerve damage."
The damage is mostly in the arms and legs. The disease results in smaller, weaker muscles and may cause loss of sensation, muscle contractions and difficulty walking. Other symptoms include weakness in your legs, ankles and feet; loss of muscle bulk in your legs and feet, high foot arches and frequent tripping or falling, among others.
Symptoms of Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease typically appear in adolescence or early adulthood, but may also develop in midlife.
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What caused Alan Jackson's health condition?
Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease is an inherited, genetic condition. It occurs when there are mutations in the genes that affect the nerves in your feet, legs, hands and arms.
Since it is hereditary, you're at higher risk of developing the disease if someone in your immediate family has it.
Is there a cure for CMT?
There is no cure for the disease. However, it generally progresses slowly and doesn't affect expected life span.
There are some treatments to help people manage Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, such as physical therapy and occupational therapy.
Researchers are investigating a number of potential therapies that one day may treat the disease, including medications, gene therapy and in vitro procedures that may help prevent passing the disease to future generations.
Gabe Hauari is a digital producer for the USA Today Network. You can follow him on Twitter @GabeHauari.
This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: Alan Jackson health: What we know about star's condition, CMT disease