Understanding different types of tremors


Have you noticed a shaking in your hands when you drink from a cup or reach for something in a cabinet? That may be a sign of an essential tremor.

Essential tremor affects about 10 million people in the U.S. Usually it is noticeable in the hands and arms. However, it can involve the head, voice, trunk and legs. Stress, caffeine and fatigue can cause symptoms of essential tremor. Medications, such as primidone or a beta blocker (propranolol), can reduce the effects of essential tremor and improve quality of life.

Everyone has a mild form of involuntary shaking called physiologic tremor. Oftentimes, anxiety, excitement, fatigue or thyroid issues cause this type of shaking. Active tremor symptoms can worsen with certain medications, including epinephrine, amphetamines and antidepressants.

A tremor that causes shaking when the body is at rest may be a sign of Parkinson’s disease or a Parkinson’s-like disease (parkinsonism). Although Parkinson’s disease is difficult to diagnose, it oftentimes causes other symptoms, such as trouble with balance and movement. Treatment for Parkinson’s disease usually includes medications, most commonly Sinemet.

If shaking or tremor makes everyday activities, such as walking, eating or dressing, difficult, talk with your doctor. You may be referred to the NeuroCare Center Goshen Physicians for a complete neurological assessment.

Join the next Thrive meeting on August 6 when we’ll talk about preparing for an appointment with your doctor.

Thrive meetings are offered the first Tuesday of each month, 11:00 a.m. to noon at the Greencroft Community Center in Goshen. To find out more, visit GoshenHealth.com/THRIVE or call (574) 364-2496. Meetings are free and no registration is required.