What is Essential Tremor – Symptoms and Treatment

Some health conditions can cause confusion not only for people in general, but also for medical specialists. With similar symptoms they can be confusing and confusing when closing a diagnosis, as is the case of essential tremor that is often misdiagnosed as Parkinson’s disease.

Essential tremor, even though it is a somewhat unusual name for most people, is considered a very common occurrence and can affect 1 in 5 people over 65 years of age.

What is Essential Tremor?

Essential tremor also known by medicine by the acronym TE is a disorder that affects the movements of limbs such as hands, legs, head and also the voice. It is not a disease that poses a risk of death, but a disorder that causes changes in movement and naturally in daily activities.

There is an extensive list of 20 conditions that cause tremors in humans, but the essential tremor is indicated as the most common of all. Even though it is a very common condition in older people, it can affect people of all ages, including childhood. When essential tremor is frequent, the individual may lose the ability to perform simple everyday tasks .

Causes of Essential Tremor

The causes of essential tremor have not yet been definitively proven, but studies indicate that the genetic origin has great influence. It was observed that in most cases, there was a family history of the syndrome. Therefore, in these cases of family history, medicine names the case as family tremor.

Essential Tremor Symptoms

Essential tremor has symptoms similar to Parkinson’s, characterized by involuntary tremors when trying to make simple movements or staying in a position that takes some effort. In the medical assessment of essential tremor, they are divided into two types:

  • Postural tremor – difficulty maintaining gravity, such as lifting and keeping an arm extended;
  • Action tremor – difficulty in making a simple movement like raising a glass towards the mouth;

In the vast majority of cases, individuals who are diagnosed with essential tremor show symptoms of both types, postural and action. Symptoms when they extend to slowness of simple movements and stiffness in the joints, may be indicative of other conditions, such as Parkinson’s.

 

When to seek medical help?

Usually when noticing different symptoms in the body, such as small tremors , which is the initial sign of essential tremor, a doctor should be sought. But in the vast majority of cases, patients seek medical help only when their daily activities are being hindered by difficulty in performing simple functions.

Essential Tremor Diagnosis

The diagnosis of essential tremor is a set of factors that must be analyzed by the doctor, as it is merely clinical. It is necessary to carry out a study of family history and specific physical examinations to rule out other physical conditions, such as thyroid disease. A brain scintigraphy or magnetic resonance imaging of the skull can be performed to complement the exams to conclude the diagnosis.

Essential Tremor Treatment

Although the condition of essential tremor has not yet been definitively cured, there are some treatment options with a focus on reducing symptoms and providing a better quality of life for the patient. Treatments can provide an improvement of up to 100% in some cases, when properly treated.

In the vast majority of patients with essential tremor, treatment is carried out using medications, which must occur in a specific, balanced and fully monitored by the specialist. The existence of other illnesses, analysis of treatments that have already been carried out and the patient’s history should be taken into account.

In more specific cases, surgical treatment may be indicated. The procedure, which is called thalamotomy, is a brain surgery that focuses on destroying brain tissue in a completely controlled manner that causes tremors in the body. After several tests, the effectiveness of the surgical procedure was proven , effectively reducing the tremor in most patients.

As all surgical procedures present a risk of complications, thalamotomy surgery is no different. Some patients, after performing the procedure, presented complications such as speech problems, numbness in some parts of the body and difficulty in balance.

Another surgery option to treat essential tremor is deep brain stimulation therapy, known by the acronym ECP. ECP therapy focuses on reducing the intensity of tremors in the arms and hands that make basic human functions so difficult.

In the ECP treatment, a small device is used that is implanted in the patient, much like a pacemaker. This device causes electrical stimulation in specific areas of the brain. This stimulus focuses on blocking the brain signals responsible for the tremors caused by the essential tremor.

Living with the New Condition

Even though it is not a syndrome that causes death risks, it is a condition that can cause disorders and certain constraints to the patient, especially in situations of public exposure. Medications and treatments can result in a decrease in tremors , but during the treatment process the difficulty in small activities such as holding a glass can occur.

The best thing to do is to adapt to the new condition and adapt in ways that can reduce the constraints. If the patient has difficulty holding a glass, choose to use a straw and leave the glass resting under the table. Stress or anxiety situations can increase the tremors, so it is essential to remain calm and with the psychological balanced and healthy.

Even though Parkinson’s and essential tremor are different conditions, patients diagnosed with essential tremor are more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease. The best way to prevent the syndrome from getting worse leading to other conditions is to keep the treatment adequate, controlled and monitored by the doctor. When noticing any distinctive symptom, it should be reported to the specialist . The sooner any health condition is discovered, the better the treatment results will be!

Dr. Alexis Hart
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My name is Dr. Alexis Hart I am 38 years old, I am the mother of 3 beautiful children! Different ages, different phases 16 years, 12 years and 7 years. In love with motherhood since always, I found it difficult to make my dreams come true, and also some more after I was already a mother.

Since I imagined myself as a mother, in my thoughts everything seemed to be much easier and simpler than it really was, I expected to get pregnant as soon as I wished, but it wasn’t that simple. The first pregnancy was smooth, but my daughter’s birth was very troubled. Joana was born in 2002 with a weight of 2930kg and 45cm, from a very peaceful cesarean delivery but she had already been born with congenital pneumonia due to a broken bag not treated with antibiotics even before delivery.

Dr. Alexis Hart

My name is Dr. Alexis Hart I am 38 years old, I am the mother of 3 beautiful children! Different ages, different phases 16 years, 12 years and 7 years. In love with motherhood since always, I found it difficult to make my dreams come true, and also some more after I was already a mother.Since I imagined myself as a mother, in my thoughts everything seemed to be much easier and simpler than it really was, I expected to get pregnant as soon as I wished, but it wasn’t that simple. The first pregnancy was smooth, but my daughter’s birth was very troubled. Joana was born in 2002 with a weight of 2930kg and 45cm, from a very peaceful cesarean delivery but she had already been born with congenital pneumonia due to a broken bag not treated with antibiotics even before delivery.

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