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Essential Tremors: A Guide to Understanding and Treating Them 

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Essential Tremors: A Guide to Understanding and Treating Them 

Neuro Sciences | by Dr. Kallol Kr. Dey | Published on 20/11/2023



Introduction

Do you experience problems while pouring a cup of coffee or doing tasks like writing or using a computer? If yes, then it can indicate that you might suffer from essential tremor. It is one of the neurological disorders causing shake rhythmically to different body parts such as hands, trunk, legs, arms, head, etc. Usually, this condition is misunderstood with Parkinson’s disease because of the similar symptoms. 

Essential tremor is among the common trembling disorder experienced by everyone, but they go unnoticed as they cannot be felt. When the symptoms are noticeable, then it is determined as an essential tremor. This condition affects people who are above 65 but can affect anyone at any age. If the symptoms are severe, make sure to book your appointment today with the multispeciality hospital, The Calcutta Medical Research Institute in Kolkata. You will get in touch with highly qualified and skilled healthcare professionals who will offer the best treatment solutions for your condition. 

In this blog, we will cover everything related to essential tremors. However, kindly note that the blog is for informative purposes and doesn’t encourage anyone to overlook consulting their doctor. 

What is an Essential Tremor?

Essential tremor is a condition of the nervous system also referred to as a neurological illness causing rhythmic and involuntary shaking. Usually, it impacts most of the body parts but trembling happens mainly in the hands while initiating simple activities like shoelace tying, or drinking from a glass. 

It is not a life-threatening condition, however, it usually keeps worsening over time and gets serious in some people if left untreated. Essential tremor also is misunderstood to be Parkinson's disease, so it is vital to keep a note of the symptoms. It affects people of any age but is most common among people who are above 40 years old.

What are the symptoms of Essential Tremor?

Essential tremor symptoms might vary from person to person, but here are some common symptoms that should not be overlooked: 

  • Symptoms often appear slowly and are quite noticeable on one part of the body. 
  • Patients might experience aggravating symptoms while trying to move. 
  • Often occurs in the hands initially, either on one or both hands. 
  • Make sure to notice the head’s motion. 
  • It is aggravated by actions like emotional stress, temperature extremities, caffeine, or fatigue. 

What are the causes of Essential Tremors?

Healthcare professionals aren’t certain about the essential tremors causes or if the triggers causing them. However, it is believed that it occurs due to changes in some brain parts. Since medical experts aren’t certain about the cause behind essential tremors, they are sure that it is a hereditary condition. 

As per a study, it is found that more than half of the essential tremors cases run in the family. Autosomal dominant inherited condition is another term for essential tremor. It implies that if one parent has the condition, then there is a 50% possibility of passing this disease to the coming generations.

How are Essential Tremors Diagnosed?

Essential tremor diagnosis entails reviewing clinical history, and family history, understanding symptoms, and a physical evaluation. No proper medical tests are there for essential tremor diagnosis, however, there are tests ordered to rule out the probability of other conditions leading to the symptoms. Here are some of these tests: 

  • Neurological assessment: In this test, the healthcare provider evaluates the patient’s functioning of the nervous system involving posture and coordination, tendon reflexes, muscle strength, tone, ability to feel some sensations, and gait. 
  • Laboratory tests: The doctor also orders blood urine tests to identify other conditions like thyroid disease, metabolic issues, medicine side effects, and chemical levels causing tremors. 
  • Performance tests: To assess essential tremors, healthcare professionals also recommend performance tests depending on the case involving drawing a spiral, holding the arms outstretched, drinking from a glass, and writing. 
  • Dopamine transporter scan: In case, if the healthcare professional is unsure that if the condition is essential tremor or Parkinson’s disease, then they order this test. It assists in understanding the difference between these two conditions. 

What are the options for Essential Tremor Treatment?

According to healthcare professionals, in some cases, there is no need for essential tremor treatment if the symptoms are not severe. However, if the patient is unable to perform regular activities smoothly, then here are some of the treatment options usually involved: 

  • Medicines: To treat essential tremors, doctors often recommend medications like beta blockers, anti-seizure medicines, tranquilizers, onabotulinumtoxinA, etc. to treat essential tremor. 
  • Therapy: For the treatment of essential tremors, doctors also recommend therapy like occupational or physical. Physical therapists assist the patient in comprehending exercises that are useful to increase muscle strength and improve control and coordination. 
  • Nerve stimulation devices: There is the latest treatment option known as a nerve stimulator device. It is a wearable electronic peripheral device to treat essential tremors. Patients are supposed to wear the device for around forty minutes twice a day. It helps in peripheral nerve stimulation and muscles to create a response reducing the intensity of tremors. As per studies, it is the finest treatment to improve conditions like essential tremors. 
  • Surgery- This is a recommended treatment option for people with severe tremors and who are not responding to the medications. Surgical procedures that are widely involved are deep brain stimulation and focused ultrasound thalamotomy.

Conclusion

Essential tremor is a condition that usually is not a matter of concern if the symptoms are mild. It leads to shaking of the hands and arms. In its early stage, the condition is often mild and doesn’t cause inconvenience to the patient. It is not a life-threatening condition, however, it can still keep the patient from taking care of themselves smoothly. For patients with essential tremors, it also becomes difficult to live alone as the symptoms can get serious anytime.

People with this condition often face embarrassment due to the tremors of this condition. It can sometimes lead to even mental health issues like depression, or anxiety. Luckily, several methods are there to treat this condition, and various devices can assist the patient to manage and handle the condition well, assisting them to reduce the impact on quality of life. If you suffer from this condition, make sure to work with your healthcare provider regularly as they can offer the support you need in this condition.

Faq -

 

How long does essential tremor last, and can it go away?

Essential tremors never go away as it is a life-long condition once an individual suffers from this condition. 

Is essential tremor linked to anxiety?

Yes, essential tremors can lead to mental health concerns like anxiety and depression. 

What is the best vitamin for essential tremors?

 GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), Caprylic acid, thiamin (vitamin B1), cannabidiol (CBD), branched-chain amino acids, and magnesium, are the best vitamins for essential tremors.