Dear Adults with Essential Tremor,
Let’s clear the air on a few things: Yes, this is hard. No, you are not alone. No, it’s unlikely caused by something you did. Yes, there is hope. Now with those four truths out of the way, let’s dive into them a bit more:
This Is Hard
Living with essential tremor (ET) is hard. Work, chores, and hobbies have taken on new challenges and frustrations. Things that you used to find enjoyable or do mindlessly take more time, effort and concentration. You are likely tired of trying to hide your tremors or having to explain them to friends, peers, co-workers and even strangers. Despite valuing your independence, you may find that you sometimes need to ask for help. Help to open water bottles, sign your signature and even text a friend. Yes, this is hard, but let’s not stop there.
You Are Not Alone
An estimated 10 million Americans and millions more worldwide suffer from ET.1 The disorder affects any gender and people of every race and ethnicity equally2, even celebrities. While ET can occur at any time, symptoms often become more pronounced and are more common in older adults. But it can also affect individuals of any age – including younger adults and children. In rare cases, it has been reported during infancy, especially for those who have a family history of ET, but more on that later.3 Watch Heather Fraser’s or Doug Couch’s story of how ET began in their early teen years.
It’s Unlikely Caused by Something You Did
While there is much we don’t know about the causes of ET, there is evidence that ET is hereditary. Each child of a parent who has ET has a 50% chance of inheriting a gene that causes the condition. However, sometimes people with no family history can develop ET.4 If you haven’t already, it may be helpful to collect your family history of ET and share that information with your doctor.
There Is Hope
While this condition can have a significant effect on your quality of life now, it is treatable. Talk to your doctor about treatment options and consider the joys that can be yours again in the future. If you need some inspiration to talk to your doctor, check out this list of 10 Reasons Why People Decide to Get Treated for Essential Tremor and write down your own list.
- New York Times. Q&A; Head and Hand Tremors. https://www.nytimes.com/2003/07/22/science/q-a-head-and-hand-tremors.html. Accessed August 26, 2021.
- National Organization for Rare Disorders. Rare Diseases Database. Essential Tremor.https://rarediseases.org/rare-diseases/essential-tremor/. Accessed August 26, 2021.
- US News and World Report. The Truth About Essential Tremor: It’s Not Just a Case of Nerves. https://health.usnews.com/health-news/patient-advice/articles/2015/11/11/the-truth-about-essential-tremor-its-not-just-a-case-of-nerves. Accessed August 26, 2021.
- International Essential Tremor Foundation. Facts about Essential Tremor: https://www.essentialtremor.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/FactSheet012013.pdf. Accessed August 26, 2021.