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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Diseases and Conditions > Essential Tremor

Essential Tremor

Alternate Names : Benign Essential Tremor, Senile Tremor, Idiopathic Tremor, ET

Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

Essential tremor, also called ET, is uncontrollable shaking of the hands or head. It can also affect other parts of the body, but hands are most common. ET usually affects both hands. Other areas that may be involved include:

  • voice
  • tongue
  • legs
  • trunk
  • The shaking is most often a back-and-forth movement.

    What is going on in the body?

    No one knows exactly what happens in the body to cause these visible tremors. They are not life threatening, but they can make it hard for a person to function in daily life.

    What are the causes and risks of the condition?

    Heredity is the only known cause or risk for ET. Fifty to sixty percent of people with ET have a family history. When there is a family history of a similar tremor, the condition is called familial tremor. The trembling can get worse with the following:

  • stress, or emotion
  • hunger
  • fatigue
  • caffeine
  • temperature extremes
  • ET affects men and women equally. It is more likely to strike people as they age.


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    Essential Tremor: Symptoms & Signs

    Author: Michael Curiel, MD
    Reviewer: Kathleen A. MacNaughton, RN, BSN
    Date Reviewed: 04/08/02

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