Why a tremor might not mean Parkinson's - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Why a tremor might not mean Parkinson's

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If you've seen Michael J Fox's new show, you know he's a TV newsman dealing with a movement disorder, which, of course, ties into his real life struggle with Parkinson's disease. Although the show is bringing awareness to Parkinson's, it should be said that not every tremor means Parkinson's.

Shaky hands, for example, can be blamed on a lot of things, from too much caffeine to a side effect of some prescription drugs. And there are many other health issues that can leave a person with tremors, including an overactive thyroid, or low blood sugar.

Another kind of tremor you might have noticed in some people is a shaky voice. That also may not be tied to Parkinson's.

Instead, Theresa Hancock was diagnosed with something called "essential tremor".

"It was probably about 15 years ago my voice started shaking," says Hancock.

"It's not quite as severe as Parkinson's disease because it doesn't cause the slowness and the stiffness and the great imbalance that Parkinson's disease patients have, but there is no question it in fact impacts quality of life," says Dr. Theresa Zesiewicz, a neurology professor at USF.

Dr. Zesiewicz says 1/3 to half the patients with essential tremor find relief with medication.

But, if you are noticing a tremor in your hands or voice, the first thing to do is tell your doctor. Because instead of worrying that you're on the road to Parkinson's, there may be a reason for it, especially if it's a reaction to medication.

To learn more about tremors, just go to http://www.livestrong.com/article/18976-causes-hand-tremors/#ixzz2hvpmvteo.

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