Essential tremor is a neurological disorder that causes intense shaking, which the patients cannot control. Tremor may occur at various parts of the body like arms, hands, head, tongue, larynx, and chin. There are also sometimes tremors in the lower body, but that is rare.
Causes of ET – Joon Faii Ong London
ET or essential tremor is not life-threatening, but severe tremors may sometimes interfere with their daily activities and keep someone debilitated from caring for themselves. Joon Faii Ong London points out that most of the people with ET lead a regular life even though they may face difficulty with eating, writing, dressing, etc.
The true cause of essential tremor is not fully understood by medical science, but it is deemed to be due to unusual brain activity related to the electric impulses sensing through the thalamus region of the brain. Thalamus is a deeper structure in the brain which coordinates muscle activity.
It is found that genes cause ET in many people. People with essential tremors have a 50% chance of carrying it on to their offspring through genes. However, it is not necessary that the child may have the symptoms for sure. Also, ET is common in older people only, and the tremor symptoms may aggravate with age.
Symptoms of essential tremor
Some of the major symptoms of essential tremors are.
- Uncontrollable shaking of hands, arms, chin, or head for a brief period of time.
- Shaky voice with trembles in the vocal cord.
- Nodding of head.
- Tremors during emotional stress.
- Tremors during movements on purpose.
- Lesser tremors during rest.
- Body balance problems.
There are many other conditions too that may cause tremors as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, exercise-induced fatigue, emotional distress, drug side-effects, brain tumors, metabolic problems, drug or alcohol withdrawal, etc.
Essential tremor and other diseases
As we discussed above, essential tremors may be linked with other diseases. It may exacerbate motion disorders like Parkinson’s disease. Some medical case studies show that ET can also be linked with migraine headaches. Some people with essential tremors are noted to have dementia also and Alzheimer’s disease.
Drugs used for ET treatment may also tend to make dome people depressed and anxious. However, medical experts think that there is an increased Parkinson’s disease risk for people having ET. However, some ET symptoms may be misinterpreted as Parkinson’s if the diagnosis is made properly.
ET can usually be diagnosed by a neurologist or movement disorder specialist who can diagnose the symptoms based on complete neurological exams. In fact, there is no such blood or urine test to diagnose the same. As a part of the diagnostic exam, doctors may consider some other causes of tremor, too as thyroid disease, medication side effects, caffeine, etc.
Treatment for ET
Essential tremor can be treated with medications like gabapentin, primidone, propranolol, Inderal, InnoPran XL, Inderal XL, topiramate, etc. Some physicians may also prescribe adaptive devices to control severe tremors as neuromodulation and tremor cancellation devices etc. Another treatment modality is deep brain stimulation, which is an interventional surgical treatment by implanting electrodes in the thalamus of the brain to control tremors.
Joon Faii Ong London recommends proper diagnosis of tremors if you have consistent shaking of hands or other body parts. With the right diagnosis combined with proper medications and other treatment modalities, essential tremors will remain under control and without affecting the daily activities much.