Friday, April 11, 2008

Why Do My Hands Shake?

Essential Tremor is a common neurologic disorder affecting millions of people. It is not a dangerous condition, however, while it is not life-threatening, those who have tremors may feel self-conscious, and the tremors may make it difficult to perform everyday activities. It generally affects adults over the age of 65, but there are cases of Essential Tremor in youth.

Symptoms may include any of the following:

1. Parts of your upper body, (such as the head, hands, voice, eyelids, and arms) shake uncontrollably, and worsen when performing tasks such as holding a glass, talking, eating, writing.
2. Shaking worsens with stress and caffeine intake.
3. Shaking diminishes while resting, and disappears during sleep.
4. Family members may have a history of tremor.

There is currently no test to pinpoint Essential Tremor. MRIs and other scans usually are normal. Your neurologist can rule out other possible causes of tremors, such as side effects of certain medications you may be taking or other underlying medical conditions.

Currently there is no cure, but if you find that your tremors are making your everyday tasks difficult, medications are available to alleviate the tremors. There are also techniques you can use to reduce stress – which may help lessen the severity of symptoms. Surgery is also an option for severe cases. However, if you experience other symptoms in addition to the tremors, you should contact your physician immediately.