Living with a chronic condition can be quite challenging, and if the condition is characterized by sudden tremors that affect the limbs, performing even the easiest of the tasks can be incredibly taxing. Essential tremor is a condition that affects approximately 7 million people in the country, and it manifests itself in the unintentional shaking motions caused tremor. This condition mostly affects the hands and forearms, but there are other parts of the body like the head, tongue, face, neck, and torso that are susceptible to essential tremor as well.
Though certain medical conditions like Parkinson’s disease can cause tremors, there is no known underlying condition that triggers this response. Essential tremor is fairly common among the elderly population, but it is not a life-threatening ailment and doesn’t have serious repercussions. Read on to learn more about essential tremor to understand the ailment better.
Symptoms of essential tremor
The tremors caused by essential tremor are small and rapid movements, which the individual will experience frequently, constantly, or occasionally. Moreover, there are chances that both the sides of the body can be affected or they might not be equally affected. Also, when the individual is trying to perform a task and experiences tremors, this phenomenon is known as action tremors, whereas, the tremors people experience even when they aren’t doing anything are called tremors at rest. The symptoms of essential tremors in the different parts of the body include:
- Twitching in the parts of the face, for instance, eyelids
- Noticeable shakiness in the hands or arms when trying to perform tasks with hands
- Tremors in the head and neck that can cause the head to shake in a side-to-side or up-and-down motion
- Tremors in the voice box or tongue can cause the voice to sound shaky when the person tries to speak
- Balance-related issues arise when one experience tremors in the core, legs, and feet. This can affect the individual’s gait.
Causes of essential tremor
Usually, tremors are caused by prolonged alcohol abuse, a stroke, an overactive thyroid, and certain neurological conditions. However, essential tremors do not originate due to such causes. In fact, the exact cause of essential tremors is unknown. No connection has been established between the condition and different genetic and environmental causes. Also, no cellular defects have been linked to this condition. However, recent research has arrived at the conclusion these essential tremors are caused by changes in certain areas of the brain. Moreover, there is evidence that essential tremor can be inherited. If someone in the family has essential tremor, especially the parents, there are 50% chances that the child will inherit this condition.
Treatment for essential tremor
Essential tremor cannot be cured completely, but one can slow down the progression of the symptoms. In cases where the symptoms aren’t very severe, people do not require treatment. However, if the tremors are interfering with your regular activities, the doctor might prescribe the following treatments:
- Blood pressure medications
- Mild tranquilizers
- Anticonvulsant medications
- Deep brain stimulation surgery
- Stereotactic radiosurgery
As a part of prolonged treatment, the patients are often advised to undergo physical therapy where they can improve their muscle control and coordination.