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What’s The Difference Between Tremors And Parkinson’s

What Is The Difference Between Essential Tremor Andparkinson’s

Tremor Disorder or Parkinson’s?

The exact cause of essential tremor is unknown while Parkinson’sdisease is better understood.

In Parkinson’s disease, neurons located in the part of the brain thatcontrols movement become impaired or die. These neurons usually produce achemical called dopamine which enables regular body movements. When the neuronscan’t produce necessary levels of dopamine, tremors can occur, along withrigidity of limbs and decreased coordination.

Parkinsons Pointers Free Lecture Series

PFNCA Parkinsons Pointers Lecture Series, normally live-streamed to community locations, will be available for viewing at home via Zoom in response to COVID-19.

Parkinsons Pointers is a quarterly community lecture series where doctors who specialize in Parkinsons speak on specific issues facing the Parkinsons community and then leave time at the end of the presentation for a Q& A session from the participants.

The next Parkinsons Pointers lecture topic and date will be announced soon.

The Previous Parkinsons Pointers Lecture Topic was on Parkinsons Dementia and Related Conditions. Click on the image below to download the presentation from this previous lecture.

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Difference Between Tremors And Parkinsons Disease

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How Is Tremor Diagnosed

Tremor is diagnosed based on a physical and neurological examination and an individuals medical history. During the physical evaluation, a doctor will assess the tremor based on:

  • whether the tremor occurs when the muscles are at rest or in action
  • the location of the tremor on the body
  • the appearance of the tremor .

The doctor will also check other neurological findings such as impaired balance, speech abnormalities, or increased muscle stiffness. Blood or urine tests can rule out metabolic causes such as thyroid malfunction and certain medications that can cause tremor. These tests may also help to identify contributing causes such as drug interactions, chronic alcoholism, or other conditions or diseases. Diagnostic imaging may help determine if the tremor is the result of damage in the brain.

Additional tests may be administered to determine functional limitations such as difficulty with handwriting or the ability to hold a fork or cup. Individuals may be asked to perform a series of tasks or exercises such as placing a finger on the tip of their nose or drawing a spiral.

The doctor may order an electromyogram to diagnose muscle or nerve problems. This test measures involuntary muscle activity and muscle response to nerve stimulation.

How Do I Know If I Am A Candidate For Deep Brain Stimulation


Deep brain stimulation works for people with PD who have responded to levodopa but now have developed dyskinesias or other off symptoms like a return of tremors, rigidity and slowness of movement. DBS doesnt seem to help people with atypical Parkinsons syndromes that also dont seem to improve with Parkinsons meds.

There are many important issues to be addressed when considering DBS to treat Parkinsons disease. These issues should be discussed with a movement disorders expert or a specially trained neurologist. A movement disorders expert is someone who has trained specifically in movement disorders.

One of the most important criteria is that you try drug treatment first. Surgery is not recommended if medications can adequately control the disease. However, surgery should be considered if you do not achieve satisfactory control with medications. Talk to your doctor to see if deep brain stimulation is right for you.

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Are Tremors Or Dyskinesias Painful

Tremors are almost never painful, says Herrington. And unless the dyskinesias are very severe, they also hardly ever cause pain.

However, Herrington says that when a persons medication wears off, the person can experience a condition called dystonia, which is related to dyskinesia. Dystonia is a potentially painful, cramping condition that can occur in the face, arms, or legs and can be very uncomfortable.

Defining The Condition: Parkinsons Vs Essential Tremor

Parkinsons Disease: According to the Parkinsons Foundation, Parkinsons disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects predominantly dopamine-producing neurons in a specific area of the brain called substantia nigra. Parkinsons itself is not a fatal disease, however, it can have serious complications that can be.

  • At what age does Parkinsons usually manifest? Typically Parkinsons typically manifests in individuals 50 years or older. However, Young Onset Parkinsons , affects 2% to 10% of individuals in the U.S. with Parkinsons.
  • What is the prevalence of Parkinsons disease? According to, approximately 1.8% of adults 65 and older suffer from Parkinsons disease.

Essential Tremor: As defined by John Hopkins Medicine, essential tremor disorder is a neurological condition that causes your hands, head, trunk, voice, or legs to shake rhythmically. Generally, these tremors are worse when moving than when at rest. However, tremors can be severe enough to interfere with regular daily activities such as eating, speaking, and even using the restroom independently. Essential tremor is considered benign, or non-life-threatening.

  • At what age does essential tremor usually manifest? Essential tremor typically affects individuals over the age of 65, however, it can develop at any age.
  • What is the prevalence of essential tremor? According to, approximately 4.67% of adults 65 and older suffer from essential tremor.

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Main Difference Parkinsonism Vs Parkinsons Disease

Parkinsonism and Parkinsons disease are two medical conditions that occur due to the unusual functioning of brain processes and it is quite confusing to identify the line of demarcation which differentiates one from the other. However, health care professionals tend to observe various clinical features, findings on physical examination and investigations, in order to establish an accurate diagnosis, for the purpose of treatment and follow-ups. The main difference between Parkinsonism and Parkinsons disease is that Parkinsonism is a comparatively rapidly progressive condition than Parkinsons disease with additional features like hallucinations, delusions, and dementia.

Here, we will discuss,

1. What is Parkinsonism Clinical Features, Cause, Method of Treatment

2. What is Parkinsons Disease Clinical Features, Cause, Method of Treatment

3. Difference Between Parkinsonism and Parkinsons disease

Essential Tremor Vs Parkinson’s Tremors: A Guide To The Major Differences

Parkinson’s & Huntington’s: What’s the difference?

When people think of Parkinson’sdisease, they may picture the shaking hands commonly associated with thecondition. Persistent shaking of hands and limbsalso known as tremorcan makeit difficult to write a grocery list, hold a cup of tea, button a shirt andapply makeup, among other routine tasks. When tremors interfere with dailylife, it can be very disruptive. While tremors are a hallmark of Parkinson’spatients, there are other diseases similar to Parkinson’s that can causetremors.

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Where Can I Get More Information

For more information on neurological disorders or research programs funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, contact the Institutes Brain Resources and Information Network at:

Office of Communications and Public LiaisonNational Institute of Neurological Disorders and StrokeNational Institutes of HealthBethesda, MD 20892

NINDS health-related material is provided for information purposes only and does not necessarily represent endorsement by or an official position of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke or any other Federal agency. Advice on the treatment or care of an individual patient should be obtained through consultation with a physician who has examined that patient or is familiar with that patients medical history.

All NINDS-prepared information is in the public domain and may be freely copied. Credit to the NINDS or the NIH is appreciated.

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Dont Miss: Parkinsons Disease And Essential Tremor

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What Research Is Being Done

The mission of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke is to seek fundamental knowledge about the brain and nervous system and to use that knowledge to reduce the burden of neurological disease. The NINDS is a component of the National Institutes of Health , the leading supporter of biomedical research in the world.

Researchers are working to better understand the underlying brain functions that cause tremor, identify the genetic factors that make individuals more susceptible to the disorder, and develop new and better treatment options.

Brain functioningIt can be difficult to distinguish between movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease and essential tremor. These debilitating movement disorders have different prognoses and can respond very differently to available therapies. NINDS researchers are working to identify structural and functional changes in the brain using non-invasive neuroimaging techniques to develop sensitive and specific markers for each of these diseases and then track how they change as each disease progresses.

Other researchers are using functional magnetic resonance imaging technology to better understand normal and diseased brain circuit functions and associated motor behaviors. Scientists hope to design therapies that can restore normal brain circuit function in diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and tremor.

Medications and other treatment methods

What Are The Symptoms Of Tremor

45 best Having Essential tremors images on Pinterest

Symptoms of tremor may include:

  • a rhythmic shaking in the hands, arms, head, legs, or torso
  • difficulty writing or drawing
  • problems holding and controlling utensils, such as a spoon.

Some tremor may be triggered by or become worse during times of stress or strong emotion, when an individual is physically exhausted, or when a person is in certain postures or makes certain movements.

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Depression With Huntingtons Disease

Due to the nature and lower life expectancy of Huntingtons disease, it is common for a diagnosis to lead to depression. Patients with Huntingtons are at a higher risk of suicide.

If you are struggling with your Huntingtons diagnosis or prognosis, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration National Helpline online or call 1-800-662-4357 to seek help.

For more mental health resources, including a helpful list of links and hotline numbers, see our National Helpline Database.

Misperception #: Jaw Tremor = Pd

Jaw tremor is a type of cranial tremor that is classically associated with PD. It typically occurs when the mouth is closed . However, jaw tremor can also occur in ET cases. One study evaluated jaw tremor in ET and found a prevalence of 8% in a population-based sample, 10% in a tertiary referral sample and 18% in a brain repository sample . The jaw tremor was predominantly a postural tremor or kinetic tremor . Jaw tremor, was associated with older age, increased severity of arm tremor and the presence of head and voice tremor . Jaw tremor was also more frequently associated with rest tremor of the arms , which raises the possibility of the future development of PD in those patients.

Clinical pearl #5: Jaw tremor may occur in either ET or PD, although in ET it is more typically a postural or kinetic tremor rather than a rest tremor.

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What Is The Prognosis

Tremor is not considered a life-threating condition. Although many cases of tremor are mild, tremor can be very disabling for other people. It can be difficult for individuals with tremor to perform normal daily activities such as working, bathing, dressing, and eating. Tremor can also cause social disability. People may limit their physical activity, travel, and social engagements to avoid embarrassment or other consequences.

The symptoms of essential tremor usually worsen with age. Additionally, there is some evidence that people with essential tremor are more likely than average to develop other neurodegenerative conditions such as Parkinsons disease or Alzheimers disease, especially in individuals whose tremor first appears after age 65.

Unlike essential tremor, the symptoms of physiologic and drug-induced tremor do not generally worsen over time and can often be improved or eliminated once the underlying causes are treated.

Getting Treatment: Essential Tremor Vs Parkinsons Disease

Parkinson’s Disease (Shaking Palsy) – Clinical Presentation and Pathophysiology

There is currently no cure for essential tremor or Parkinsons. However, that does not mean you have no control over your condition. As doctors learn more about these conditions, developments in treatment and disease management continue to help patients preserve their quality of life as much as possible.

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Primary Symptoms Of Parkinsons

The symptoms someone has and how quickly the condition develops will differ from one person to the next. Always consult your doctor to determine if the symptoms youre experiencing may be a sign of Parkinsons disease or a sign of other health issues.

Slowness of Movement

Individuals with Parkinsons disease experience a change in spontaneous movement that causes them to move or respond slowly. The face may lack changing facial expressions .


Tremors occur in about 70% of those living with Parkinsons. Typically, the tremor appears on one side of the body in the hand or foot while relaxed or at rest.


Muscles may fail to relax like normal muscles causing the individual to appear rigid and have a decreased range of motion. Rigidity can cause posture changes. Tightness of the muscles of the body may be painful.

Postural Instability

Loss of some reflexes needed to maintain an upright posture may cause individuals to be unstable when standing. The presence of postural instability increases the likelihood of falling.

Secondary motor symptoms include:

Non-motor symptoms of PD include:

  • Oily skin, flaky red patches near hairline, nose
  • Variable blood pressure
  • Mood changes anxiety and depression
  • Cognitive changes
  • Excessive or low sex drive
  • Excessive sweating especially of hands and feet
  • Frequent urination and incontinence

How To Take Care Of Myself/manage Symptoms

A trained, qualified healthcare provider should be the one to diagnose and treat essential tremor. Essential tremor isn’t life-threatening or dangerous, but tremors can also be a part of other conditions, some of which are treatable if caught quickly. Its important to call your healthcare provider and make an appointment if you start experiencing tremors that you cant explain.

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Understanding The Basics Of A Tremor And How It Affects The Body

Characteristically occurring at rest, the classic slow, rhythmic tremor of Parkinsons disease typically starts in one hand, foot, or leg and can eventually affect both sides of the body.

The resting tremor of Parkinsons disease can also occur in the jaw, chin, mouth, or tongue. In addition, some people with Parkinsons disease can experience a feeling of internal tremor, which is not necessarily noticeable to others. Tremor is very common in Parkinsons. It affects about 80% of people with Parkinsons. Although many lay people, and even those with Parkinsons disease themselves, think of tremor as being the main problem in Parkinsons, it isnt for most. For most people with Parkinsons, tremor is not debilitating.

However, a tremor is annoying. It also attracts attention, so that people tend to keep their bad hand in a pocket, or to sit on it during conferences. Since it disappears with movement, it turns out that tremor does not interfere severely with activities of daily living.

What Causes Parkinsons Disease

Differences Between Parkinson

Parkinsons disease is caused by a combination of genetic, lifestyle, and environmental factors. A deficiency in the chemical dopamine can cause symptoms of Parkinsons disease.

In about 15% of cases, Parkinsons occurs in individuals with a family history of the disease, due to gene mutations and alterations that are passed down.

Age is a large risk factor for developing Parkinsons. People over the age of 60 have the highest risk of developing the disease.

Studies show that men are 1.5 times more likely to develop Parkinsons than women.

Other environmental risk factors that can lead to Parkinsons include:

  • Exposure to pesticides and herbicides
  • Exposure to toxins such as trichlorethylene and polychlorinated biphenyls

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The Differences Between Essential Tremor And Parkinsons Disease

Essential tremor and Parkinsons disease are often misdiagnosed, in part, because the signs of the two conditions include tremor. However, there are key differences between the two movement disorders:

  • Tremor timing: Essential tremor typically occurs at a higher frequency when a patient attempts to use their hands. Tremor from Parkinsons disease, on the other hand, occurs when a patients hands are at rest.
  • Other symptoms: While essential tremor is not known to cause any other health conditions, those with Parkinsons disease often develop a stooped posture, slowed movement, and a shuffling gait.
  • Body parts affected:Essential tremor often only affects the hands, head, and voice. Patients with Parkinsons disease will develop tremors in their legs, chin, and other parts of their body.

Misperception #: Head Tremor Occurs In Et But Not In Pd

Head tremor is observed in patients with ET, with the reported prevalence being dependent on the ascertainment of the cases. One study noted head tremor in 12% of patients in the community, 37% in a tertiary referral center and 54% in a brain repository . Two studies evaluating factors associated with head tremor found that women with ET were four to six times more likely to have head tremor than men with ET . The head tremor of ET is typically a postural tremor that resolves at rest . Yet head tremor is not unique to ET. Head tremor has also been described in PD patients one study reported head tremor in 17% of clinically diagnosed PD cases . Head tremor was described in detail in five clinically diagnosed PD cases . The head tremor was present at rest , had a frequency similar to the 46-Hz rest tremor of the limbs and responded to levodopa . None of the cases had voice tremor.

Clinical pearl #4: Head tremor often occurs in patients with ET but can on occasion also be seen in patients with PD. The head tremor of ET is typically one that resolves at rest , in contrast to what has been reported in PD.

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