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About Essential Tremor

Does the shaking from essential tremor make it difficult for you to keep working, take care of your family, and even do everyday things like write, shave, dress, or drink a glass of water? If you’re frustrated and fed up, it’s time to explore your treatment options. For some people with essential tremor, the right choice is a treatment called DBS. Why consider DBS?

Definition

Essential tremor is a disorder of the nervous system that causes a rhythmic shaking of a part of the body, most commonly hands. Essential tremor can also affect your head, voice, arms, or legs.

Often the symptoms begin gradually. People who have mild symptoms may cope for years without treatment, though they are can become frustrated and limited by their tremor. Unfortunately, for many the symptoms get worse and can be severe.

Symptoms

Essential tremor is characterized by rhythmic shaking that occurs during voluntary movement or while holding a position against gravity. Essential tremor is often misdiagnosed as Parkinson's disease.

The two types of tremor include:

  • Action tremor – a voluntary movement such as lifting a cup to one's mouth
  • Postural tremor – a voluntary holding of a position against gravity such as reaching or extending one's hand or arm

Most people with essential tremor experience both postural and action tremor.

Causes and Risk Factors

Essential tremor is the result of abnormal communication between certain areas of the brain, including the cerebellum, thalamus, and brain stem. The cause of essential tremor is unknown, but there is evidence that for some people the disorder is genetic. However, people with no family history of tremor can also develop essential tremor.

Learn More About Essential Tremor

The International Essential Tremor Foundation provides information, advocates for greater awareness, funds research, and offers support groups.

 

Information on this site should not be used as a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.

Last updated: 29 Apr 2014

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