Essential Tremor (also known as benign tremor, familial tremor, or idiopathic tremor) symptoms are non-life threatening, even though they can leave a person with severe debilitation. Someone with Essential Tremorsymptoms could experience shaking while trying to do simple tasks such as tying shoelaces, writing, or shaving. Some individuals with Essential tremor may even feel an internal, rhythmic shake instead of an outward one. These symptoms may be aggravated by stress, tiredness, caffeine consumption and weather/temperature changes. Because of stereotypes that may be associated with Essential Tremor and a lack of general awareness, many people with ET never seek treatment or medical help, which could greatly improve their function and lives.
Most people with Essential Tremor symptoms have no problem performing their day to day functions, but this may change with age, as most symptoms may worsen after ages 40-60 years old. People with Essential Tremors can find treatments that greatly impact their prognosis positvely and help them lead meaningful and rich lives. Essential tremor is often very mild, but can be severe in some cases.
A tremor is defined as something that can occur during precise movements and is a shaking/ loss of control for muscles. Most Essential Tremor symptoms affect upper body functions and movements. Areas such as the tongue, chin, head, arms and Larynx are areas that are commonly affected by ET. Essential tremor can be described as a form of action tremor, because it intensifies when someone tries to use the affected muscles, or postural tremor because it is present within sustained muscle tone. ET generally presents itself as a rhythmic tremor at 4-12 Hz. If Parkinson’s disease is also present, walking difficulties are also very common with Essential tremor, and about half of patients experience associated dystonia of some form. Loss of smell can also occur.
Essential Tremor occurs along with multiple neurological disorders besides Parkinson’s disease. This can include migraine disorders, where it was found that ET and migraines have been examined together. Essential Tremor is mostly familial, while these other diseases may not be, but can be found in conjunction with other disorders and present it’s symptoms.
Essential Tremormay sound similar to Parkinson’s disease, but it differs because Parkinson’s is a progressive brain disease that affects neurons in the brain. It is also eight times for common than Parkinson’s, and affects an estimated 10 million Americans. Parkinson’s causes neurons to die and causes a lack of dopamine in the brain, which in turn leads to a loss of the ability to control body movements normally. Parkinson’s also includes more progressive symptoms such as muscle rigidity, Bradykinesia, changes in walking, loss of balance and Orthostatic hypotension. Parkinson’s tremors are generally resting tremors and not action tremors like in Essential Tremor. These are symptoms of the whole body losing connection with neurons and the brain, while Essential Tremors is not as highly invasive and problematic. Essential Tremor is not linked and does not cause Parkinson’s.