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Essential Tremor Information

Essential tremor is the most common movement disorder and typically affects individuals in later adulthood (40 years and older). In patients with this disease, specific regions of the brain generate fluctuating electrical signals that travel to the muscles, inducing rhythmic trembling of the hands, head, legs, trunk, and/or voice. This can make it difficult for people diagnosed with essential tremor to hold a glass, write, eat, and perform other tasks. The tremors associated with this condition are often similar to those displayed by patients with early stage Parkinson’s disease, however, the timing of involuntary muscle movements, parts of the body affected, and other signs will help a qualified physician to make an accurate diagnosis.

Unlike Parkinson’s disease, essential tremor rarely becomes life-threatening or debilitating and does not cause other health problems. Generally, the symptoms of this condition:

  • Occur gradually, often on one side of the body
  • Primarily affect a person’s hands
  • Become worse with movements
  • Are potentially aggravated by stress, caffeine, and other factors

Tampa General Hospital helps these patients with essential tremor enjoy a better quality of life with treatment options that are tailored to their individual circumstances. Depending on the severity of the condition, our highly experienced team of specialists may recommend treatment plans ranging from medication to therapy. In patients whose symptoms can’t be managed this way, we can perform deep brain stimulation surgery, which involves the implantation of electrodes that send electrical impulses into the brain, a procedure that has proven effective in many patients.