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Essential Tremor - Symptoms

  • What are the symptoms of essential tremor?

The tremor starts gradually, usually in the hands first (either one or both hands).

You may find it difficult to perform tasks with your hands, such as writing or using tools. Some may experience uncontrollable head-nodding or shaking, or have a quivering voice. The tremor may worsen if you are stressed, fatigued, cold or have taken caffeine.

Symptoms may fluctuate depending on the task that you are doing, your state of mind, emotions and other factors.

  • Does essential tremor result in balance problems?

Essential tremor is unlikely to cause balance issues even though it may affect the lower parts of your body in rare cases.

  • What is the relationship between essential tremor and conditions such as Parkinson's disease? How are they similar or different?

Both conditions are a result of the brain aging (neurodegenerative disorder), but differ in many ways:

  1. In essential tremor, your hands will start to shake when performing tasks, while tremors seen in patients with Parkinson's disease are most prominent when your hands are at rest. 
  2. Essential tremor rarely causes other health problems, but people with Parkinson's disease often have a stooped posture, slow movement, shuffle when they walk, are prone to falling and have difficultly performing tasks which require thinking and planning.
  • What is often confused with essential tremor?

Tremors can be caused by a variety of conditions or lifestyle factors including

  1. Medications such as corticosteroids (such as prednisone), lithium, cyclosporine, valproate etc.
  2. Alcohol
  3. Caffeine
  4. Parkinson’s disease
  5. Multiple sclerosis
  6. Low blood sugar
  7. Drug withdrawal
  8. Thyroid problems
  9. Anxiety

Essential Tremor - Other Information

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