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Essential Tremor Getting Worse

July 17, 2018

Essential tremor is a neurological disorder that causes parts of your upper body to shake rhythmically. It can often be confused with Parkinson’s disease because of its similarities as far as the tremors go. Essential tremor can occur at any age, but typically occurs in people over the age of 65. In most people with essential tremor, it seems to be passed down from parent to child. If your parent has essential tremor, you have a 50 percent chance of inheriting the gene for essential tremor. Essential tremor can also occur along with another disorder like dystonia or Parkinson’s. Healthcare providers are extremely important when diagnosing essential tremor because they can help differentiate between the causes, which may help with treatment plans in the future for managing symptoms. 

The cause of essential tremor is mostly unknown, but a theory states that it may be that your cerebellum and other parts of your nervous system and brain are not communicating. The cerebellum is the part of your brain that would normally control muscle coordination and movement. Because essential tremor may be affected by the neurological system, it is considered a neurological disease, and generally treated as such. 

Essential tremor is a progressive disease and does tend to get worse with age and other factors. There have been studies that show the earlier that essential tremor is onset, the faster the progression of the tremors and the condition. The areas affected can also be a depictor of how fast or slow essential tremor will progress. But, there is no way for us to be able to completely tell how fast the condition will worsen, as we do not even know what causes it for certain. 

Essential tremor is a kinetic tremor, so it can temporarily get worse when movement occurs. Unlike most tremors, essential tremor is not triggered by still muscles, but by movement. This means that any movement or exercise may cause tremors to get worse. It also means that stress, fatigue, anxiety, exhaustion, or any of these may trigger tremors to be worse. 

There is nothing to prevent essential tremor from getting worse, only treatmentsthat may help lessen the symptoms. Most of the time, essential tremor does not interfere with day to day activities and those with essential tremor are able to live functional and independent lives. To track what makes your symptoms worse, make a tremor diary. In this diary, write down what you are doing when tremors worsen. There could be a food trigger, a movement trigger, a feeling trigger, or something that you do not realize makes your tremors worse. From there, you will be able to figure out what treatments work best for you. 

Since tremor cannot be prevented from getting worse, it is important to know your triggers and what works to help with your tremors. Essential tremor is progressive, but there is no way to determine how fast or slow it will progress. The best thing that can be done is symptoms can be treated so that patients can live normal and full lives.