Benign Essential Tremor
What is benign essential tremor?
As the name suggests, benign essential tremor (also often referred to as essential tremor) is a condition where sufferers experience small, uncontrollable shakes known as tremor. This usually affects the hands and arms but can occur on any body part.
The tremors are normally small, rapid movements that are unintentional and range from constant to occasional in frequency. Most people experience these tremors when they’re trying to do something, such as tying shoelaces or opening a jar.
All people who have benign essential tremor experience it slightly differently and the severity of the condition can vary a lot. Some people even have tremors that are so minor that they barely notice them, and symptoms don’t interfere with their life.
What causes benign essential tremor?
Benign essential tremor is different from other tremors because the cause is unknown. Often, people who suffer from tremors can put it down to Parkinson’s disease, a stroke or alcohol abuse, but with benign essential tremor, there’s no obvious origin.
However, research has shown that certain factors can make the tremors temporarily worse, such as stress, extreme temperatures, smoking, drinking caffeine or feeling hungry.
Although the cause is unknown, the risk of developing the condition does seem to increase in those over the age of 40.
How can I treat benign essential tremor?
Unfortunately, there’s no cure for benign essential tremor but symptoms can be managed in a variety of ways. You could try physical therapy to improve muscle control and coordination or get botox injections to minimise shaking.
A number of medications can also be effective in reducing the tremors and their severity. Beta-blockers (like Propranolol) work by reducing the effect of adrenaline on the body, while anticonvulsant medications can reduce the excitability of nerve cells.
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