Essential tremor

A tremor is an involuntary shaking of parts of the body. A tremor is essential if it is not caused by another disease, drugs or toxic substances.

Symptoms of essential tremor / ET

The shaking of the essential tremor has often a certain frequency and can affect the whole body over the years. ET can range from slight to very strong shaking, from small movement amplitude to a huge one in the extremities (especially the hands), the head and sometimes also the vocal chords. Many actions, especially those requiring fine motor skills, like writing, painting or in general doing things with the hands can become difficult or even impossible. Holding or moving object like moving the spoon to the mouth or holding a cup may become very difficult due to the trembling or shaking movements of arms and hands. People with an essential tremor do often also suffer severely in their mind because ET is visible for all the people around them during activities that used to natural and easy.

Symptoms of the essential tremor in short:

  • trembling and shaking of extremities (especially hands), head or vocal chords
  • shaking while holding or moving objects
  • psychic suffering because ET is visible for anyone

Cause essential tremor / ET

Trembling hands is a typical symptom of Parkinson’s disease but is also a symptom of many other neurological diseases or an illness of its own. The most common illness of its own is the essential tremor that is caused by neuronal malfunctions. The essential tremor has mostly a genetic origin. It is also possible that other family members suffer from it, but the opposite is also possible.

Diagnostics essential tremor / ET

The diagnosis essential tremor necessitates a comprehensive neurological-orthopedic examination. Often imaging procedures like MRI are used to differentiate different diseases that may cause similar or the same symptoms like ET.
It is also crucial to rule out diseases of the internal organs.

Therapy essential tremor / ET

The essential tremor can be treated with drugs. But severe cases of essential tremor resistant to this form of therapy can be treated with deep brain stimulation (DBS). DBS treats pathologically changed brain structures by transmitting electrical impulses that stimulate or deactivate the corresponding area of the brain. The necessary electrodes are implanted during the minimally invasive, stereotactic brain surgery.

Read more about deep brain stimulation (DBS) as a treatment option of the essential tremor