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Parkinson's Disease

Essential tremor and Parkinson`s disease

01/07/2009

Question:

Could Essential Tremor develop into Parkinson? I have tremors in both hands and legs. lately, I have experience tremors on my left side while resting. I notice the tremors are not as frequent as when my left hand are in motion, but the movement does occur in a resting state. Please advise.

Answer:

There are some people with Parkinson's disease who have a history of essential tremor, usually for many years before developing PD. Typically, the tremors are easily differentiated between the two conditions. However, in a small percentage of patients, the tremor that is actually associated with PD can have some features of essential tremor.

The diagnosis of PD is based not only on tremor but also the presence of other cardinal features: bradykinesia (slowness), rigidity, and postural instability. These features are not present in essential tremor. There is some indication that patients with ET may indeed be at a greater risk of developing PD, though this is still uncertain.

A thorough examination by a movement disorders neurologist is needed if there is a question about the diagnosis.

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Response by:

Punit  Agrawal, DO Punit Agrawal, DO
Assistant Professor of Neurology
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University