Essential Tremor Effects
Essential Tremor Effects
Neal Hermanowicz (Director of the Movement Disorders Program) gives expert video advice on: What are the sexual side effects of essential tremor? and more...
How is handwriting affected by essential tremor?
For somebody with essential tremor, they will often notice that their handwriting has been affected in that it becomes harder to write. When they go to write, their hand will start shaking. If you look at the script, if you look at their writing, their handwriting has actually got larger in size. It has become less legible, but it has got bigger in size, compared to somebody with, say, Parkinson's Disease, where their handwriting becomes less legible, but becomes tinier; it becomes sort of a scrawl in its appearance.
What are the sexual side effects of essential tremor?
In terms of sexual function, libido and essential tremor, I'm not aware that there had been any studies specifically addressing that question. I'm not hearing from my patients that they are noticing something different although it is conceivable that the treatment for essential tremor could have an impact on that specifically. Propranolol which is commonly used for essential tremor can have a side effect on erectile dysfunction. Propranolol can also affect mood and has a tendency to make some people feel fatigue or depressed.
How does essential tremor affect balance?
The parts of the brain that we think essential tremor is coming from, or certainly is involved, are also parts of the brain that are involved with maintaining balance. Some people, not all, with essential tremor can have unsteadiness of walking. Falling is not usually a common complaint in somebody with essential tremor, but they may have a sense of unsteadiness and I may be able to see evidence of that in their examination when I ask them to walk as part of the exam.
How does essential tremor affect a person's mental capability?
I would not anticipate that people with essential tremor are going to have cognitive impairment, nor necessarily alterations of their mood, for example depression. Essential tremor is sometimes referred to as benign essential tremor, but it's not benign, it's troubling to people. It can have an impact on their daily life, and simple things like lifting a coffee cup to their lips can be very difficult. Sometimes people find that they need to drink things out of straws because their hands are shaking so much. That may have an impact on their mood or their frustration in their daily life, but the underlying brain process, I would not anticipate, nor is it routinely described as being affected, or the underlying essential tremor affecting cognition or causing dementia or directly causing mood difficulties.