Country music star Alan Jackson announced that he has been diagnosed with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT), a degenerative neurological condition for which the 62-year-old says there is “no cure.”
According to the New York Post, Jackson first revealed his diagnosis during a recent interview with Jenna Bush Hager of NBC’s Today.
“There’s no cure”
Speaking with the morning show, the country singer said the disease, which he first learned he had 10 years ago, has now begun to impact the way he walks and how he performs onstage.
“I have this neuropathy and neurological disease. […] It’s genetic that I inherited from my daddy,” Jackson said, according to Today. “There’s no cure for it, but it’s been affecting me for years. And it’s getting more and more obvious.”
He went on: “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.”
“It’s not deadly”
Still, Jackson remains optimistic.
“It’s not going to kill me. It’s not deadly,” he told Today. “But it’s related [to] muscular dystrophy and Parkinson’s disease.”
As for whether the condition will force the country star to stop doing the thing that brought him fame and success — writing music and performing nationwide — that doesn’t appear to be in the cards, at least not yet, anyway.
“I never wanted to do the big retirement tour, like people do, then take a year off and then come back,” he said, as the New York Post reported. “I think that’s kinda cheesy. And I’m not saying I won’t be able to tour. I’ll try to do as much as I can.”
Incurable but manageable
According to the health website Prevention, CMT is an incurable and hereditary, but not life-threatening, disease that generally impacts a person’s daily life by way of increasing nerve damage and pain. It can also cause a loss of balance due to numbness in the extremities.
Dr. Michael Sly, professor of Neurology at the University of Iowa, said while the disease is similar to conditions like muscular dystrophy and Parkinson’s in that all three are degenerative, CMT attacks the nerves, while the other two attack the muscles and brain, respectively.
While there remains no cure for CMT, some therapeutic treatments have been developed that have dramatically helped those diagnosed with the disease continue to live life to the fullest. As for Jackson, it seems he’s intent to do just that.