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Hand Tremors in Young Adults

Hand Tremors in Young Adults

Depending on the nature of their occurrence, hand tremors in young adults could be either related to a condition called essential tremor or Parkinson's disease. Let's have a look on the subject.
Rajib Singha
Last Updated: Jun 3, 2018
The condition of hand tremors is characterized by sudden involuntary, shaking movements that occur in one or both hands. It is less common in young adults when compared with older people. As mentioned earlier, it may have two possible causes behind it - essential tremor or Parkinson's disease. And in order to determine the causal factor, identifying the symptoms is important.
When is Essential Tremor the Cause?
» With essential tremor, the most obvious symptom is the involuntary shaky movements that may occur in one or both the hands. These get worse when the hands are being used for any purpose such as holding a cup or a pen, drinking, eating, shaving, using a cell phone, and the like.

» Experts have noticed that the rapid movements occur more than 5 times a second. It is important to note that such symptoms become more noticeable when the hands are in action. That is why the condition is also known as action-related tremor.

» Essential tremor worsens with age, and usually gets aggravated by factors such as exposure to emotionally stressful situations, fatigue, exposure to too hot or too cold temperatures, and drinking caffeine-based products.

» Also, if essential tremor is the underlying cause behind hand tremors, then it would be accompanied by head nodding, shaking or quivering voice, and shaking arms or legs.

» This condition, although can affect people of any age, is more common in adults over 65 years of age.

» Essential tremor is an idiopathic condition, meaning it does not have any specific cause known to medical experts as of now. However, it is assumed that in most cases it could be an outcome of genetic mutation in the affected person. To add to this, the condition does not give rise to any other complications in the body, except the shaky movements thus, is not regarded as a life-threatening medical problem.
How is Essential Tremor Diagnosed?
Medical experts do not follow a dedicated protocol to diagnose essential tremor. Most doctors run through a medical history check of the patient's and his/her family to determine if the condition runs in the family. The diagnosis is done by ruling out other medical conditions (such as Parkinson's disease) that could also be responsible for causing the symptoms of hand tremors. For this, the patient might be put through an exam to monitor the neurological condition of the patient, urine tests, blood tests, tests to evaluate the status of the tremors, computerized tomography (CT) scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan.
When is Parkinson's Disease the Cause?
» Parkinson's disease in young adults is also a less common occurrence when compared with the elderly. It is a neurological problem that worsens with time.

» Its characteristic tremors or shaking often begins in one hand.

» Note that, in case of Parkinson's disease, the tremors occur when the hands are at rest, and tend to reduce with any movement.

» Parkinson's disease can be suspected as the culprit of hand tremors if the person is also experiencing other physical changes such as:
  • Slowing of motion
  • Muscles going stiff
  • Limited movement
  • Weakness of throat and facial muscles
  • Stooped posture,
  • Improper gait
» Unlike essential tremor, Parkinson's does not affect the head or the voice of the patient.

» Even with Parkinson's disease, doctors have not been able to bring any specific cause under light. Assumptions are, factors such as genetic mutations, and exposure to toxins or certain viral infections could be the possible contributing factors.
How is Parkinson's Diagnosed?
Given the fact that the symptoms of Parkinson's could be caused by several other types of underlying problems, there is no definite way to establish a diagnosis of the condition. Similar to that of essential tremor, even here the patient is asked to present his/her medical history and that of the family's, and undergo a neurological exam. The patient could also be given a drug called levodopa. If the drug helps in reducing the symptoms, then the diagnosis would most likely point towards Parkinson's disease.
A Few Self Care Measures
Patients with essential tremor are advised to avoid caffeine, limit alcohol consumption, practice relaxation techniques, and take adequate rest.

Those with Parkinson's disease may do well if they follow a nutritionally balanced diet, walk with care to avoid falls, and work closely with an occupational therapist.
To conclude, depending on the symptoms of the hand tremors, one may have an idea about what's causing the problem. However, to be specific, a medical visit would be necessary. And as obvious it is, the treatment would involve attending to the particular cause. For both the causes, it may involve the use of medicines, physical therapy, and surgery. However, the approach of the treatment may differ.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.