Essential tremor and Parkinson’s differences

Tremors are involuntary movements that can occur in different parts of the body such as hands, legs and head. Parkinson’s disease (PD) and Essential tremor (ET) are two of the most common conditions associated with tremors. To properly diagnose the cause of tremor and prescribe treatment, you need to know significant Essential tremor and Parkinson’s differences.

Essential Tremor

Essential Tremor is a movement disorder which is primarily characterized by rhythmic hand shaking. Exact causes of the disease are not well understood, but it is believed to involve abnormal brain activity in the cerebellum.

Symptoms of Essential tremor

Rhythmic tremors: the hallmark of essential tremor is a rhythmic shaking that occurs during voluntary action movements such as reaching for an object or managing pencil.

Progressive nature: tremors in ET tend to worsen with stress and fatigue.

Affected Body parts: Essential tremor patients often experience a change in handwriting quality as it gets quivery and large.

Less frequent resting tremors: unlike Parkinson’s disease, Essential tremor often does not involve tremors while at rest, but these may also still occur in the head and voice.

Bilateral involvement: Essential tremors are usually bilateral, meaning that they affect both sides of the body.

Parkinson’s disease

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurological disorder which affects the nervous system and motor function – movements. It is a movement disorder which tends to usually get worse over time and is caused by a gradual degeneration of dopamine producing cells in the brain. As the nerve cells in parts of the brain weaken, are damaged or die, people may begin to notice problems with their overall movement, stiffness of their limbs or impaired balance.

Symptoms of Parkinson’s disease

– Bradykinesia (slow movement): Parkinson’s Disease patients may experience a gradual decrease in speed and amplitude of their movements, which may result in difficulty performing simple tasks. It might get harder for them to write, and because micrographia makes letters appear smaller, they might notice a noticeable change in letter size.

– Resting tremors: Parkinson’s disease patients may also experience action tremors, which happen during deliberate movement. The tremors are most noticeable when the hands are resting on the lap or side of the body.

– Postural Instability: Parkinson’s Disease can affect balance, resulting in an increased possibility of falling.

– Speech alterations: there are changes of Speech in Parkinson’s patients that may involve slurred, fast or soft speech.

– Muscle Rigidity: this condition can affect any area of the body and makes it difficult for people to move independently or under control.

Distinguishing Between Essential Tremor and Parkinson’s disease

– Observing Tremors: Essential tremor related shakiness is likely to occur during action intervals, e.g. when the patient tries to perform controlled and steady movements, such as writing. At the same time Parkinson’s disease caused tremor is more likely to occur in at rest.

– Asymmetrical Involvement: Parkinson’s Disease can start on one side of the body and slowly progress to another side of the body. However, cases with bilateral symptoms also exist.

– Accompanying Symptoms: Parkinson’s disease has a wider range of symptoms, such as stiff muscles, instability in posture, and bradykinesia, that are worth being aware of even though both conditions can make it difficult to carry out daily activities.

Although Essential tremor and Parkinson’s differences are clear, it’s not easy to identify the origin of tremor. To solve this problem we’ve developed a mobile app STEADY HANDS. It helps accurately diagnose tremor, monitor it’s progress during treatment and identify areas for improvement. This app is available for smartphones with Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS operating systems.

MasterCard VISA