Is a tremor always caused by Parkinson’s disease?


While tremors in the hands are probably the most noticeable, they can actually occur in any body part. — 123rf.com

My friend has been having some tremors and stiffness of his limbs. I cautioned him that it may be Parkinson’s disease, but he said so far, no tests showed anything. Do tremors always signify Parkinson’s disease?

There are many causes of tremors, which is an unintentional and uncontrollable rhythmic movement of one part or one limb of your body.

It does not always signify Parkinson’s disease.

While the hands may be the most noticeable part of the body to have a tremor, this symptom does not always have to occur in your hands.

It can occur in any part of the body and at any time.

However, it is important not to confuse muscle spasms and twitches with tremors.

A muscle spasm is an involuntary contraction of your muscle.

A muscle twitch is an uncontrolled fine movement of a small portion of a larger muscle.

Are you sure your friend is having a tremor and not a muscle spasm or twitch?

He says he is very sure it is a tremor.

Well then, there are two types of tremors: resting and action.

Resting tremors are when you’re sitting or lying still.

Once you move around, the tremor actually goes away.

Resting tremors often affect only your hands or fingers.

Action tremors occur when you move the affected body part.

Action tremors are further divided into:

  • Intention tremor

    This happens during an intentional movement, such as touching your finger to the elevator button.

  • Postural tremor

    This occurs when holding a position against gravity, such as holding out your arms or legs.

  • Task-specific tremors

    This happens during a specific activity, such as typing on your keyboard or writing with your pen.

  • Kinetic tremors

    This occurs during movement of a body part, such as moving your wrist up and down.

  • Isometric tremors

    This happens during the voluntary contraction of a muscle without moving it.

What type of tremor happens in Parkinson’s disease? That is what he is most afraid of.

A Parkinson’s tremor is a resting tremor, and it occurs early in the disease.

Other than Parkinson’s disease, what causes tremors to develop?

Tremors can be caused by many things.

Some of them are mild, and you need not worry too much about them.

Some are quite serious.

Causes of tremors include:

  • Medications
  • Muscle fatigue
  • Drinking too much coffee
  • Too much stress
  • Alcoholism
  • Ageing
  • Hypoglycaemia
  • Stroke or some brain injury that affects the cerebellum – the part of your brain that controls movement and balance
  • Multiple sclerosis affecting the cerebellum
  • Hyperthyroidism
What is Parkinson’s disease?

Parkinson’s disease is a brain disorder that causes some uncontrollable movements, such as tremors, shaking, stiffness, and difficulty with balance and coordination.

Most people develop it after the age of 60.

It occurs more often in men than women.

Parkinson’s disease happens because the nerve cells in your basal ganglia, which is in an area of your brain that controls movement, are impaired or dead.

Therefore, they produce less dopamine.

To this day, no one knows why the cells in the basal ganglia just die like that.

Symptoms usually begin gradually and worsen over time.

After a while, many people have difficulty with walking and talking.

They may also develop mental and behavioural changes, sleep problems, depression, memory difficulties and fatigue.

How do I recognise early Parkinson’s disease?

Here are 10 signs that might indicate you have early Parkinson’s disease.

If you have just one of these signs, it is OK – you need not worry so much.

But if you have two or more of these signs, then you should consult a neurologist.

  1. Tremor at rest
  2. Small handwriting (compared to your usual handwriting)
  3. Loss of smell, especially for bananas
  4. Sudden movements during sleeping (usually noticed by your spouse)
  5. Stiffness in moving or walking, especially stiffness that does not go away when you move.
  6. Constipation
  7. Change of voice to soft or low
  8. An expressionless or mask-like face
  9. Dizziness or fainting
  10. Stooping or hunching
Is there any cure for Parkinson’s disease?

There is no cure, but there are medications containing levodopa that will help alleviate the symptoms.

They can be ingested, inhaled or infused.

There are also many other types of drugs that can be used to help treat Parkinson’s disease, along with levodopa.

Dr YLM graduated as a medical doctor, and has been writing for many years on various subjects such as medicine, health, computers and entertainment. For further information, email starhealth@thestar.com.my. The information provided is for educational and communication purposes only, and it should not be construed as personal medical advice. Neither The Star nor the author gives any warranty on accuracy, completeness, functionality, usefulness or other assurances as to such information. The Star and the author disclaim all responsibility for any losses, damage to property or personal injury suffered directly or indirectly from reliance on such information.

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Tremor , Parkinson's disease

   

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