Tremor, or shaking movements, may have many causes. Essential tremor is not caused by an underlying disease; thus, it does not mark a progressive or a debilitating problem. Most cases begin before age 25. However, a variety called senile tremor begins in old age. This tremor involves the arms, hands, and face. It usually starts in, and it may remain confined to, one side of the body. It tends to progress slowly. Initially, the tremor occurs only with movement, but as it advances, it begins to occur at rest. The tremor is not disabling and does not impair activity. This is in contrast to essential tremor, which occurs at a younger age and can progress to the point of physical disability and interfere with socialization.
Important Points in Treatment
The use of some medications such as sedatives may reduce the tremor, but the benefits are mild and the side effects may be disturbing. No treatment is effective in reversing the development of senile tremor. Single doses of some medications may help by providing lessening of the tremor for a short interval, which may help the patient participate socially.