What it is Essential Tremor?
Essential tremor is a syndrome characterized by a slowly progressive postural and/or kinetic tremor, usually affecting both upper extremities.
ET is a chronic condition characterized by involuntary, rhythmic tremor of a body part, most typically the hands and arms. In most patients, ET is considered a slowly progressive disorder and, in some patients, may eventually involve the head, voice, tongue (with associated dysarthria), legs, and trunk. However, in many people, the disease may be relatively non-progressive and the tremor may be mild throughout life.
The exact cause of essential tremor is yet unknown. Tremors occur when there is a problem with the nerves supplying certain muscles. Some research suggests that the part of the brain that controls muscle movement does not work correctly in patients with essential tremor.
Essential tremor can also occur with other problems of the brain and nervous system such as dystonia, Parkinson’s disease and certain neurological diseases that are transmitted from parents to children.
If an essential tremor occurs in more than one member of a family is called familial tremor. This type of essential tremor is passed down through families (inherited), which suggests that genes play a role in its cause.
Familial tremor is usually a dominant trait, which means you only need to get the gene from one parent to develop tremor. It usually begins in early adulthood, but can be seen in older or younger people.