Essential tremor is the most common cause of tremor in adults, and has a worldwide prevalence of 1% with a prevalence of 5% in adults over age 60.
Essential tremor often runs in families, and for this reason is sometimes also referred to as "familial tremor". A family history is present in 30 to 70% of patients diagnosed with essential tremor.
Essential tremor most commonly is seen affecting both arms. This is in contrast to the tremor seen in Parkinson's Disease, in which onset typically begins unilaterally. It has also commonly been known to affect the head.
Essential tremor is characteristically amplified with fixed postures, especially those in which a body part is being held against gravity, such as holding one's arms outstretched.
The symptoms of essential tremor also become more apparent with goal-directed movements such as using eating utensils.
The tremor seen in essential tremor is characteristically relieved with small amounts of alcohol. This is a common feature that patients may report noticing when they present complaining of tremor. Importantly the same is not true for other causes of tremor.
Patients whose symptoms are severe enough to cause difficulty in daily activities may be prescribed beta blockers, which have been shown to relieve symptoms of essential tremor.
Picmonic's rapid review multiple-choice quiz allows you to assess your knowledge.START QUIZ NOW
*Average video play time: 2-3 minutes
Unforgettable characters with concise but impactful videos (2-4 min each)