Do I have Essential tremor?
Tremors, characterized by involuntary shaking of a part of the body, can be disruptive to daily life, leading many to wonder, “Do I have Essential tremors?” Understanding the signs, symptoms, and treatment options is crucial for those grappling with this condition.
Essential tremors (ET) stand out as one of the most common movement disorders. Living with essential tremor poses unique challenges, akin to an uninvited guest that manifests as involuntary shaking, primarily in the hands.
These ET tremors often intensify with movement, stress, fatigue, or specific postures. They gradually progress over time and becomes more pronounced with age.
Recognizing the Symptoms
The defining characteristic symptom of essential tremor is the rhythmic shaking of the hands, which typically occurs during voluntary movement and can involuntarily have an effect on accomplishment of daily tasks that require precision or steadiness.
Causes and Risk factors
While the mysteries behind ET remain, genetic factors are believed to play a significant role. Though not life-threatening, living with essential tremor can significantly affect the quality of life of individuals, turning simple tasks into challenges and taking an emotional toll on them.
Diagnosing Essential tremors
Diagnosing essential tremor typically involves thorough evaluation by healthcare professionals through a series of physical examinations, an individual’s medical history. In some cases, additional tests such as image studies, blood work or neurological assessments are conducted to rule out other conditions which might be causing the tremors. Although the differences between Essential tremor and Parkinson’s are clear, it’s not easy to identify the origins and causes. To aid in the diagnostics of tremors, there are plenty tools available on the internet. Our Steady Hands app is one of the best and can be downloaded in Google Play or App Store.
While essential tremor cannot be cured, several treatment options can help manage the symptoms and improve the quality of life for those affected.
Medications: Beta blockers and anticonvulsants are common prescriptions for the reduction on the severity of tremors, they are effective in some individuals by minimizing the intensity and frequency of tremors.
Therapies: Occupational therapy can teach strategies to improve the performance of daily tasks affected by tremors. Physical therapy is also a possible aid in managing symptoms caused by tremors. There are also therapeutic devices available for those who prefer non-invasive methods with the same effects which can be utilized.
Surgical interventions: In cases where medication and therapies are ineffective, surgical procedures like deep brain stimulation (DBS) might be recommended, which involves implanting electrodes in specific areas of the brain to regulate abnormal nerve signals and reduce tremors.
Lifestyle modifications: Avoiding triggers such as caffeine and managing stress can help in the alleviation of symptoms, as well as using weighted utensils or adaptive tools to assist in the performance of daily activities.
Living with essential tremor can be physically and emotionally challenging. There are many support groups and online communities which provide a platform for individuals to share their individual experiences living with essential tremors, coping strategies, and emotional support. These resources can be vital for managing the condition and addressing its’ impact it has on people’s lives. If you’re experiencing uncontrollable shaking that interferes with your daily activities, it’s necessary to seek medical advice from professionals who can advise you on the best approaches to effectively manage the symptoms and tremor reduction. Diagnosing ET early and intervening can significantly improve the quality of life of affected people. And with the right support and treatment, you can learn to navigate and cope with ET, and in turn resulting in a more fulfilling and active life despite its posed challenges.
Photo by: Engin Akyurt