General Questions to Ask Your Physician and Potential Answers

How is Essential Tremor diagnosed?

There are a number of different types and causes of tremor. Sometimes Essential Tremor can be diagnosed by family history and a physical examination from your family doctor. However, Essential Tremor may be diagnosed by a physical examination from a specialized, Movement Disorder Neurologist.

What is the prognosis for essential tremor?

Essential tremor is called a progressive disease. This means that it tends to become worse over time. It does not shorten expected lifespan and does not lead to any more serious brain disorders. Some people have a mild tremor which does not affect daily life very much. If your tremor is more severe, it may significantly disrupt your ability to carry out normal activities.

Are all tremors the same?

There are many types of tremor other than essential tremor.  There are many things that can cause tremor that is different than Essential Tremor.

Other forms of tremor that are different from Essential Tremor include tremor associated with Parkinson’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, or tremor associated with a Traumatic Brain Injury.

Do all Essential Tremor patients respond similarly to various treatments?

There is some variation in how certain people with Essential Tremor respond to various treatments but there are some clear similarities.

Some people with Essential Tremor can get significant relief from one of the 2 medications most commonly used.   However, many of those patients that do get some tremor benefit from medication, have side effects from those medicines that they may find unpleasant.   Therefore, a large number of patients either get no benefit from medicine or cannot tolerate the side effects of the medicine.

Most patients that have a confirmed diagnosis of Essential Tremor have  similar positive responses to interventions such as, Neuravive or DBS.

Can essential tremor be mis-diagnosed?

Essential tremor can be easily misdiagnosed as another movement disorder, most frequently Parkinson’s disease. Essential tremor actually occurs eight times more often than Parkinson’s. A handwriting test is often used to distinguish between the two.

Tremors of the voice and head also do not generally occur in Parkinson’s but are commonly seen with essential tremor. A patient suspected of essential tremor should be examined while in a reclined or seated position with complete body support.

Possible Questions to Ask About Your Case

How do I determine which procedure is best for me?

Do I have essential tremor or Parkinson's Disease?

What tests do I need?

I have other health conditions. How can I best manage all these conditions together?

Questions You Can Ask About Your Treatment Options

What treatments are available and which do you recommend?

What are the side effects for each medication?

Can you describe the different procedures, step by step?

What are the advantages of each of the treatments? What are the risks?

How many sessions / treatments will I need?

What is the recovery time for each procedure I am considering?

What can I expect after treatment? What will be the effect on my tremor? Can it come back?

Will my insurance cover any of these treatment options?

Questions Your Doctor May Ask You

When did your symptoms begin?

Do you have a family history of essential tremor?

Have you ever had a head injury?

What parts of your body are affected?

Does anything make your tremors better or worse?

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