February 24, 2021 2 min read
Are hand tremors always a sign of Parkinson's disease? We commonly associate hand tremors with Parkinson's disease but this might not necessarily always be true.
Most people associate hand tremors with Parkinson's disease but the most common cause of hand tremor is actually Essential tremor.
Essential tremor is a neurological disorder that causes your hands, head, trunk, voice or legs to shake rhythmically. It is often confused with Parkinson's disease.
The condition is commonly passed down from a parent to a child. If your parent has Essential tremor, there is a 50% chance you or your children will inherit the gene responsible for the condition. Sometimes, ancillary testing such as brain imaging or genetic testing may help with the diagnosis.
Essential tremor can affect people of all ages but is most common among people above 65 years old.
People with Essential tremor experience frequent shaking that tends to be worse when the hand is in motion. This shaking cannot be controlled and it occurs most commonly in the hands, arms, head, and vocal cords.
By comparison, people with Parkinson’s disease typically experience hand tremors when their muscles are at rest and on the other hand sees a reduction in the tremors when their muscles are in use.
Therefore, it is important to find out the root cause for your tremors in order to reduce or eliminate the tremors. Hand tremors can also be an early warning sign of some neurological and degenerative conditions.
Although hand tremor in itself isn’t life threatening, but it can make daily tasks difficult. Some lifestyle changes can assist in decreasing the difficulty of day to day activities.
You may need to replace lightweight or delicate objects, such as glasses, silverware, or plates, with heavier versions. The extra weight may make the item easier to handle.
Similarly, you can wear wrist weights. The extra weight on your arm may help to increase control and stability for your daily tasks.
Gripping and controlling items such as pens, pencils, garden tools, and utensils may be difficult with the hand tremors. You may need to consider switch up your daily tools with adaptive tools and aids that are specially designed for better control.
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