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Essential Tremor

National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.

Important
It is possible that the main title of the report Essential Tremor is not the name you expected. Please check the synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and disorder subdivision(s) covered by this report.

Synonyms

  • benign essential tremor (obsolete)
  • ET
  • familial essential tremor
  • hereditary tremor

Disorder Subdivisions

  • None

General Discussion

Summary
Essential tremor (ET) is a progressive, neurological disorder characterized by tremor, most often of the hands or arms. A tremor is an involuntary, rhythmic, movement of a body part. Tremor may be seen as involuntary shaking or trembling of the affected area. In individuals with ET, other motor symptoms may be present including an unsteady manner of walking due to an inability to coordinate voluntary movements (ataxia). In some cases, affected individuals may also develop a variety of non-motor symptoms including cognitive impairment or personality changes. ET can occur in childhood or adulthood. The exact, underlying cause of ET is not fully understood. In some cases, the disorder runs in families; in others, it occurs in individuals with no previous family history. The cause of ET is most likely multifactorial, which means that several factors, such as genetic and environmental ones, all play a role in the development of the disorder.

Introduction
Traditionally, ET was viewed as a relatively benign disorder characterized by one symptom, tremor. However, ET can be associated with a variety of psychosocial issues and it can potentially significantly disrupt daily activities and social interactions. Consequently, the term benign was dropped from the name. In addition, researchers have determined that additional non-motor symptoms can be associated with the disorder. Some researchers now believe that essential tremor may actually represent a group of similar, yet distinct, disorders sharing the common trait of kinetic tremor.

Resources

WE MOVE (Worldwide Education and Awareness for Movement Disorders)
5731 Mosholu Avenue
Bronx, NY 10471
USA
Tel: (347)843-6132
Fax: (718)601-5112
Email: wemove@wemove.org
Internet: http://www.wemove.org

International Essential Tremor Foundation
P.O. Box 14005
Lenexa, KS 66285-4005
USA
Tel: (913)341-3880
Fax: (913)341-1296
Tel: (888)387-3667
Email: info@essentialtremor.org
Internet: http://www.essentialtremor.org

NIH/National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
P.O. Box 5801
Bethesda, MD 20824
Tel: (301)496-5751
Fax: (301)402-2186
Tel: (800)352-9424
TDD: (301)468-5981
Internet: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/

Genetic and Rare Diseases (GARD) Information Center
PO Box 8126
Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8126
Tel: (301)251-4925
Fax: (301)251-4911
Tel: (888)205-2311
TDD: (888)205-3223
Internet: http://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/GARD/

Movement Disorder Society
555 E. Wells Street
Suite 1100
Milwaukee, WI 53202-3823
Tel: (414)276-2145
Fax: (414)276-3349
Email: info@movementdisorders.org
Internet: http://www.movementdisorders.org

For a Complete Report

This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). A copy of the complete report can be downloaded free from the NORD website for registered users. The complete report contains additional information including symptoms, causes, affected population, related disorders, standard and investigational therapies (if available), and references from medical literature. For a full-text version of this topic, go to www.rarediseases.org and click on Rare Disease Database under "Rare Disease Information".

The information provided in this report is not intended for diagnostic purposes. It is provided for informational purposes only. NORD recommends that affected individuals seek the advice or counsel of their own personal physicians.

It is possible that the title of this topic is not the name you selected. Please check the Synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and Disorder Subdivision(s) covered by this report

This disease entry is based upon medical information available through the date at the end of the topic. Since NORD's resources are limited, it is not possible to keep every entry in the Rare Disease Database completely current and accurate. Please check with the agencies listed in the Resources section for the most current information about this disorder.

For additional information and assistance about rare disorders, please contact the National Organization for Rare Disorders at P.O. Box 1968, Danbury, CT 06813-1968; phone (203) 744-0100; web site www.rarediseases.org or email orphan@rarediseases.org

Last Updated:  7/30/2012
Copyright  1986, 1990, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2012 National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.

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