Essential tremor is a neurological condition that results in shaking, most often in the hands. The tremor becomes especially obvious when attempting to perform a task like drinking from a glass, writing or tying shoelaces. Tremor may also occur in the head, arms or legs, and it can also affect your voice. Essential tremor isn't caused by other diseases, and it's rarely dangerous, although it does become worse over time.
Essential tremor is more common among people over the age of 40, and it usually begins slowly, becoming gradually worse. Symptoms are most noticeable with movement and can become worse with fatigue, stress, caffeine consumption or extreme changes in temperature.
Sometimes, essential tremor is associated with a specific genetic mutation, but often, the cause of the condition is unknown. Changes in certain areas of the brain have been linked with an increased risk of essential tremor.
No, Parkinson's disease is a completely different disorder.
Although there are no tests to specifically check for essential tremor, a comprehensive physical evaluation can aid in diagnosing the condition and differentiating it from Parkinson's disease and other conditions. Your evaluation may include:
neurological exams to evaluate your reflexes, muscle tone, gait, posture, coordination and sensory capabilities
lab tests including blood tests and urinalysis
performance tests, where you will be asked to perform simple tasks
In addition, you'll be asked to provide a complete medical history and you'll also be asked about your lifestyle and habits, including your use of prescription, over-the-counter and illicit drugs and exposures to toxins.
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