The essential tremor is the commonest type of tremor. Tremor is an involuntary and rhythmic shaking movement of a part of the body. It is produced by alternating synchronous contractions of reciprocally innervated muscles.
- It is of lower frequency (4 to 8 Hz) than physiologic tremor.
- It is characterised by the absence of any associated pathological condition.
- Essential tremor is worsened by emotion, exercise, and fatigue.
- The tremor always begins in the arms and is symmetrical. The tremor may be limited to the upper limbs or a side-to-side movement of the head; may involve the chin.
- In advanced cases of essential tremor, involvement of the jaw, lips, tongue, and larynx may be noted.
Is essential tremor have familiar occurrences?
Yes, we can often see familiar occurrences of essential tremors and terms as hereditary or familial essential tremor.
What age group is commonly affected?
Most commonly this type of tremor occurs in the late second decade. Another peak is noticed in adults older than 35 years of age. Occurrences in childhood have also been observed.
How common is essential tremor?
It is relatively quite common and affects almost 1 % of the population and may be very debilitating.
50 to 70 percent of patients get relief with the beta-adrenergic antagonist propranolol. These drugs may take around several days to a week to be evident. Propranolol is usually prescribed in doses of 80 and 200 mg per day in divided doses. Potential side effects are fatigue, impotence, and bronchospasm.
Newer drugs such as metoprolol and nadolol are better tolerated than propranolol but are less efficacious than propranolol.
Familial and essential tremors are can be suppressed by a few drinks of alcohol in more than 75 percent of patients. But they again reappear once the effect of alcohol goes off.