Progression of Essential Tremor

May 31, 2018

Essential Tremor is a progressive condition that may worsen with age, different environmental factors and other influences. Essential Tremor can be found in more than one percent of individuals 70 years or older. The progression of Essential Tremor very much varies within patients, but tends to follow a specific and predictable pattern. Symptom management also varies from person to person, but there are things that have been found to have a positive affect in most of those affected by the disease. In a study, it was found that factors associated with an increase in tremor symptoms were older age, longer disease duration, presence of a voice tremor and use of movement disorder drugs. Tremors typically are worse with emotional and physical stress and the underlying cause is not clear. Essential Tremor is nw considered a neurodegenerative disease, but the course is extremely slow and can run for many decades before coming severely debilitating.

In the progression of Essential Tremor, tremors become more severe and there is a wider distribution of the tremors throughout the body, and there may be changes in the walk and cognition of the affected individuals. Essential Tremor has been found to go in hand in hand with dementia and other conditions associated with cognitive dysfunction. It was thought in earlier years that Essential Tremor was a movement disorder and nothing more, but along with genetics it has been found that cognitive impairment seems to be involved.

Those who develop Essential Tremor in earlier years tend to have progression of Essential Tremor much more apparently when compared to those who develop symptoms at an earlier age. Age is a prognostic factor, and the younger someone is when they get it, the more likely they are to have their symptoms worsen fairly quickly. The average annual increase in tremor severity from the average baseline has been estimated to be between 3.1 percent and five percent a year, but only four studies have been attempted to estimate the rate of decline and they have only been done within the last ten years, so their data may not be as accurate as it could be. Studies of Essential Tremor are hard because they require a very long follow-up process.

It doesn’t seem that gender, years of education, family history of Essential Tremor, asymmetrical tremors, caffeine intake, tremoric drugs or Essential Tremor medications have any influence over the progression of Essential Tremor, and that it really just depends on age of the onset of the condition. Progression seems to take about 8 to 10 years on average, but is closer to eight when the patients are younger. There is a progressive decade-by-decade decline in Essential Tremor. However, patients with long disease duration did not converge at the same end-stage of severe tremor. It depended entirely case by case on the patient and their onset age.

The progression of Essential Tremor also seems to be affected by stress and by movement. These things can make tremors worse and more volatile. Caffeine won’t increase the progression of Essential Tremor over time, but will worsen symptoms as it is consumed. Since there is no long term solution to the condition, there are short term solutions to lessen symptoms as they come, and to increase productivity and functionality in the lives of those that suffer from it.