What is an Essential Tremor and Should You Be Worried?
May 23, 2018You've noticed your dad's hand shakes. You're worried he has Parkinson's disease. The leading cause of shaky hands is actually essential tremor. Here's what you need to know. Home Care in Atherton CA: What is an Essential Tremor?What is Essential Tremor?Essential tremor is a neurological condition in which certain parts of the body tremble or shake for no reason. Hands are one of the common areas that experience the shaking. Arms and heads are also affected. There's no way to stop the shaking. It's not a dangerous medical condition. It doesn't hurt. It's simply frustrating to be unable to stop the tremor from happening. The condition usually appears when a person is a young adult. It can worsen as you age. If your dad is dealing with it, he should talk to his doctor. It's important to have other health conditions, like Parkinson's, ruled out. Once possible medical issues have been ruled out, your dad and his doctor can discuss the next steps to take. In most cases, the shaky hands are simply an annoyance. It can be hard to do intricate work like decorating cakes and cookies with a pastry bag of icing or frosting. Writing can also be difficult as the hand shakes while trying to fill out a form or leave a signature. The shaking isn't dangerous.Can Essential Tremor be Treated?Typically, doctors don't try to treat essential tremor unless it is interfering with quality of life. If your dad wants to go on medications, an antidepressant, antiseizure medication, or beta-blocker are the most common options. Some doctors are turning to Botox injections to weaken the muscle temporarily to help ease the tremor. The potential side effects may not be worth the minor annoyance of having a tremor in the hands. If your dad is unsure he wants to rely on medications and deal with the potential side effects, there are other ways to help ease essential tremor. He can wear weights on his wrist or use heavier kitchen tools to force the muscle to work harder and boost muscle control. Kitchen knives and utensils that are designed to make gripping the item easier can also help. If essential tremor is disrupting your dad's daily activities, support him. Professional caregivers can help with the more difficult tasks like cooking meals. Plus, your dad will have someone to socialize with, which is an added benefit that comes from home care services.