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Essential Tremor Awareness Month

March 26, 2024

As March comes to an end, so does Essential Tremor (ET) Awareness Month. However, that does not mean the work of curing and bringing awareness to ET stops.

Essential tremor is a neurological condition that causes trembling in the hands, head, voice, legs and body. While it is often confused with Parkinson’s disease, ET is actually eight times more common. ET impacts more than 7 million Americans and millions more worldwide.

So, what is the difference between essential tremor and Parkinson’s disease? There are a few main distinguishing factors between ET and Parkinson’s:

  • ET usually occurs around the age of 40 and gets worse over time. Parkinson’s develops in people over the age of 60.
  • The type of tremor also differs between ET and Parkinson’s. People with Parkinson’s usually have tremors when they are resting, while people with essential tremor generally have tremors while moving.
  • Essential tremors typically occur more frequently than Parkinsonian tremors.
  • Those with essential tremor experience three times as many waking hours with tremors as apposed to those with Parkinson’s disease.

Like Parkinson’s disease there is currently no known cure for ET. However, there are treatments to help reduce symptoms. The majority of treatments use the beta-blocker propranolol and there are also physical therapies that help reduce symptoms.

While ET is a life-long diagnosis, treatment in the early stages can improve patient outlook and give people the best chance of slowing the progression. With care, people experiencing ET can live as long as those who do not have ET.

Emerald Heights is working to ensure the residents with ET or Parkinson’s have the tools to live a long, independent life. With therapy and individualized care, each family and resident can create a plan to help suit the resident best. This is a disease that impacts so many people and is a subject close to many people’s hearts.

“ET has affected my family in many ways,” said Sue Rowell, Emerald Heights Director of Sales and Marketing. “I can remember watching my mom’s and sister’s hands shake during meals. The food would fall off their fork, as they tried to eat. With my mom, we would only fill her coffee mug halfway because the shaking of her hands would spill the liquid in a full cup before she got it to her mouth.”

Organizations around the world, like the International Essential Tremor Foundation, are researching new methods to provide care for those affected and are searching for a cure as well. These organizations fund cutting-edge research, provide support groups and focus on raising awareness around the world.

For those who would like to support the research efforts and raise awareness, you can get involved in nonprofit organizations like the International Essential Tremor Foundation by providing time as a volunteer or donating funds. You can also post to personal social media accounts with a green ribbon to bring awareness to ET. The 2024 Essential Tremon (ET) Awareness Month theme is “Let’s Take the Mystery Out of ET.”

For more information about ET, visit essentialtremor.org.