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Tremor Disease (Essential Tremor) Symptoms and Treatment

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Tremor Disease (Essential Tremor) Symptoms and Treatment

Essential tremor, also known as tremor disease, is a disease that occurs when hands, arms or other parts of the body tremble. The incidence of this disease increases with age. It is usually more common between the ages of 10 and 19 or 50 and 59. While essential tremor affects 1% of people worldwide, it is estimated to affect 5% of people over the age of 60. It is not a dangerous disease, but if it is not treated, it can interfere with daily activities. There are several different treatment options. These treatment methods can be preferred depending on the person or the condition of the disease. Essential tremor is a disease that gradually progresses and worsens. Therefore, it may take many years for the disease to reach the stage where it begins to disrupt a person’s life.

What is Essential Tremor?

Essential tremor is a type of movement disorder that causes parts of the body to shake. This tremor occurs beyond the person’s control. If left untreated, the person cannot help himself. In addition to being seen in limbs such as hands, arms and legs, tremors can also be seen in different parts of the body such as the head and vocal cords.

This disease is not dangerous, but it can reduce a person’s quality of life. In the later stages of the disease, the person may have difficulty meeting basic needs such as eating, drinking and dressing.

What are the Symptoms of Essential Tremor?

Essential tremor is known to be a disease caused by shaking of parts of the body. That’s why the most common symptom is tremor. There are some symptoms that occur with tremor. These symptoms are listed as follows:

  • Difficulty in activities such as writing and drawing
  • A trembling voice when speaking
  • Rhythmic shaking in hands, arms, head and body
  • There are symptoms of the disease such as difficulty using a fork or knife.
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The tremors that occur in essential tremor disease can appear in different forms. Tremors often occur under certain conditions. Tremor types and conditions that cause tremor are as follows:

  • Action Tremors: Action tremor is a type of essential tremor that usually occurs during actions such as reaching for an object.
  • Postural Tremor: Postural tremor occurs when the shadows that may occur in the body remain in the same position for a certain period of time. For example, it is the type of tremor that occurs when you raise your arms in the air and wait like that for a while.

This disease is known to generally affect both sides of the body, but it often appears to affect one side of the body more than the other.

What Causes Essential Tremor?

Today, the factors that cause essential tremor are not fully known. However, according to research conducted by experts, there is information that it occurs due to changes in a certain part of the brain.

Half of the people with this disease have a family history of the disease. Therefore, it can be said that it is a disease caused by genetics. If one of the parents has passed on a mutated gene that can cause essential tremor disease, that person has a 50% chance of having the disease.

This disease is not a contagious disease. It is not possible to pass from person to person. It is a genetic or self-induced disease.

How is Essential Tremor Diagnosed?

Essential tremor disease is diagnosed by a healthcare professional based on disease symptoms and neurological examination.

There is no test or imaging method used for definitive diagnosis of this disease. It is usually diagnosed by looking at the symptoms of other diseases that may cause tremor and by eliminating the possibility of those diseases being present in the person. Excluding other diseases may include blood or imaging tests.

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Tests performed by a healthcare professional to help rule out other diseases that may cause tremors are listed as follows:

  • blood tests
  • Computed tomography
  • genetic testing
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Tests such as positron emission tomography (PET) help rule out other diseases and diagnose essential tremor.

Diseases that cause symptoms similar to essential tremor are listed as follows:

  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Stroke
  • multiple sclerosis
  • hyperthyroidism
  • Diseases that cause tremors, such as traumatic brain injury, can be confused with essential tremor.

What is Essential Tremor Treatment?

There is no definitive treatment for tremors. If the cause of the disease is eliminated, the disease can be treated. Medications, assistive devices, botulinum toxin, deep brain stimulation and focused ultrasound are among the treatment methods. If treatments do not respond, deep brain stimulation and focused ultrasound are recommended.

  • Medicines: Treatment alone or in combination can be done to prevent the disease. The medications used are beta blockers such as propranolol (a medication that treats anxiety problems) and anti-seizure medications such as primidone.
  • Adaptive devices: For this disease, devices such as anti-shivering devices, peripheral nerve stimulation, and vibration devices have been developed to control tremors.
  • Botulinum Toxin: These drugs are administered intramuscularly to reduce the severity of the disease, causing temporary loss of muscle activity. In this way, the severity of tremors decreases.
  • Deep Brain Stimulation: This treatment method is a surgery that involves placing a device that gives electrical stimulation to a part of the brain. Thanks to the device that gives electrical stimulation, the signals in the muscles that cause tremors are interrupted. With this surgery, tremors on both sides of the body can be stopped. It is among the methods used as the last treatment in cases where other treatment methods work.
  • Focused Ultrasound: This treatment method is applied by detecting the tissue that causes tremors in the brain and sending a high-frequency sound wave to that point. The targeted tissue is destroyed with the high sound wave sent. In this way, severe tremors can be reduced and the quality of daily life can be improved. This treatment method is effective on both sides of the body. Focused ultrasound treatment is among the methods used as the last treatment method when other treatment methods do not work.
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The treatment methods given above are preferred according to the person and disease condition. Treatments have possible side effects and complications. These side effects and complications may vary depending on many factors. The physician will share with the patient what needs to be done to minimize these negativities and carry out the process in the healthiest and best way, depending on the condition of the patient and the disease. In order for the disease and treatment process to progress smoothly, it is necessary to be in contact with the physician and manage the process with the guidance of the physician.

How to Prevent Essential Tremor?

Essential tremor is generally passed on to a person through genetics. It is recommended to avoid stress as the main method of protection. If the person has a family history of the disease, he/she should observe the symptoms and consult a doctor at the slightest sign. In this way, the disease is controlled before it progresses further. In early diagnosis, the disease can be treated with minimal use of medications.

While this disease is genetic, there are also cases where it appears to develop on its own. In such cases, there are some behaviors that need to be done to protect against the disease. These:

  • Staying away from caffeinated drinks,
  • Avoiding excessive stress and anxiety,
  • Small planned changes in daily life, such as breathing exercises or yoga, can reduce the risk of disease.

If a person observes essential tremor symptoms in himself or his loved ones, it is recommended that he go to the nearest health institution and be examined. The disease is more easily controlled with early diagnosis in line with the examination and tests performed by the doctor. If the person has tremor disease and the medication he uses increases the tremors, it is recommended that he consult a physician.

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