Uncontrollable shaking. Nodding head. Hands that shift back and forth on their own while holding an object. Loss of balance. These are all symptoms of a disease that affects over 10 million in the U.S. Essential tremor is a nerve disorder that targets the hands, arms, head, tongue, chin and larynx. It is rarely seen in the lower extremities.
Because it develops with age, and on the surface it exhibits some of the same symptoms as Parkinson’s disease (which we’ll discuss next week), essential tremors are not the same. Some differentiating factors include the fact that while Parkinson’s shakiness is constant, essential tremors usually occur amid some form of movement of the affected body part. Also, while essential tremor can cause head and vocal shakiness, Parkinson’s rarely does..
While it is not known exactly what causes essential tremor, half of the people who have it can claim a family member who shares the condition. Studies have also indicated that those who suffer from it are twice as likely to develop dementia than the rest of the population.
One additional way in which essential tremor differs from Parkinson’s, is that it does not advance in severity with time. People with ET are often able to live quite healthy and active lives, though if it interferes which eating, bathing or dressing, assistance may be required.
There are a number of options for treatment of ET, ranging from prescription drugs like Klonopin or Xanax, to a surgical implant, to even Botox injections. But first things first: if you suspect that your elderly loved one may have the disease, your first step is to make sure she sees a physician, pronto. If the diagnosis is positive, set in motion a game plan for treatment. While bothersome, essential tremor doesn’t have to put a wrench in your favorite senior’s plan to grow old gracefully.
There is so much to think about when entering the later stages of life. If you are considering elder care options, we at 805Aging can help. Our professional staff specializes in assisting you to choose the right kind of care for your loved one.
We conduct regular check-ins when you are unable to do so. 805Aging also provides oversight and detailed feedback to the family to keep your loved one safe and well-cared for day or night, weekday or weekend, holiday and every day.
We have the resources. We can hold your hand. We can guide you. Your peace of mind is our main goal, and is well assured. To find out more, call us at 805-750-4755 or visit our website and sign up for our monthly newsletter: www.805Aging.com.
There is no manual on how to take care of your parents as they age. They had a baby book when you were young. You have us. -Amy