Handshaking and tremors are things that have always been associated with the elderly. Which begs the question, what is the connection between aging and tremors and how does it affect the elderly? Does it affect everybody? And most importantly, what treatment options do we have? Let’s answer these questions as we further explore the link between aging and tremors.
What are Tremors?
Tremors are involuntary movements that can affect different parts of the body, including the face, head, hands, arms, voice chords, legs, and trunk. Tremors can be a result of underlying medical conditions, such as neurological conditions, metabolic difficulties, or pharmaceutical adverse effects. They are most usually linked with older people, although they can also affect young adults as well as children. Tremors can have a broad range of effects on a person's everyday life, depending on their degree, nature, and root cause.
Types of Tremors:
Tremors are classified based on several variables, including their cause, frequency, and the circumstances in which they occur. Here are examples of some of the common types of tremors:
This is the most common type of tremors, and it tends to be biological, meaning it runs in families. It affects the hands, head, or other areas of the body, and can be treated with various ways that you'll learn about later in the blog.
This is a frequent and often undetectable tremor that affects everyone to some extent, especially during physical exercise. It becomes more noticeable during stress, exhaustion, or because of using certain medicines.
Dystonia is a movement disorder characterized by persistent muscle contractions that cause abnormal postures or recurrent movements, which eventually causes tremors. This is one of the types of tremors that you can treat by addressing the main problem.
Tremors can also be the result of a huge load of stress and anxiety. It can be treated by simply relaxing and keeping yourself in a peaceful environment. There are many stress reducing techniques you can try as well as trying counseling.
Hence the name, Parkinson's tremor is one of the many negative effects of Parkinson's disease, which is a destructive neurological disease that impairs mobility. Parkinson's disease is characterized by the loss of neurons that generate dopamine in the brain, which ends up impacting motor function.
Why Do Old People Shake?
Many factors can contribute to elderly tremors and body shaking, so it's critical to take into account the patient's medical history, overall health, and any additional symptoms they may be experiencing. The following are a few typical reasons why old people experience uncontrollable shivering as well as feeling shaky and weak:
As previously mentioned, essential tremor is usually a postural or dynamic tremor that affects the hands, head, or other areas of the body, and it’s a very common condition among the elderly.
Many medications can cause tremors as a side effect, especially those that impact the nervous system, which is the case most of the time. If you’re experiencing uncontrollable shivering and you suspect that it could be a side effect, check with your doctor and seek the proper treatment.
Tremors can result from disorders affecting the cerebellum, a region of the brain involved in balance and coordination. Conditions like multiple system atrophy and cerebellar degeneration fall under this category.
Elderly tremors may also be caused by other neurodegenerative diseases, such as Lewy body dementia or Alzheimer's disease, in addition to Parkinson's disease.
Involuntary head shaking, body shaking, and tremors in legs can all be the result of damage to the brain from a stroke or vascular problems, particularly if the areas governing motor function are impacted.
It’s crucial for people who are feeling shaky and weak to seek proper and effective treatment from healthcare professionals.
Treatment Options for Eldely Tremors:
The best course of action for treating tremors in the elderly depends on the specific kind of tremor and its underlying cause. Certain tremors may simply be a normal aspect of aging and not necessarily require medical attention, but other tremors may indicate an underlying condition that requires attention. Let's discuss some common treatments that are available to the elderly:
Deep brain stimulation (DBS) could be an option for people with Parkinson's disease-related tremors or severe essential tremors that are incapacitating. With DBS, electrodes can be surgically implanted in specific brain regions to control abnormal nerve signals that cause tremors.
For those who experience body shaking, physical therapy is generally very beneficial in enhancing muscle power, coordination, and general mobility. To reduce the effect of tremors that obstruct daily activities, therapists could provide exercises, techniques, and tools.
If an underlying medical condition, such as metabolic irregularities or vascular problems, is the cause of tremors, treating and managing the underlying illness can assist in alleviating them. As was already noted, it is extremely frequent for sudden, uncontrollable shaking in the elderly to be caused by an underlying medical problem. When tackling the issue, this is what you should check first.
Frequently, adopting a healthier lifestyle might be the ideal addition to your continuing medical care. It may surprise you to learn how helpful it is to engage in physical activity like sports, avoid unhealthy foods and drinks, and maintain a balanced diet.
- Beta-blockers: These Medications, such as propranolol or primidone, are usually prescribed to reduce essential tremors.
- Anti-Parkinsonian Medications: People with tremors connected to Parkinson's disease may be offered levodopa and other drugs.
Psychological support and counseling may be the most suitable treatment for people with psychogenic tremors or tremors aggravated by stress and anxiety. It varies in severity from one person to another, depending on the mental state and the type of environment of the patient, making it crucial to provide this patient with a very relaxing stress-free environment to help them overcome this condition.
It's crucial to remember that not every tremor needs to be treated, particularly if it's harmless or doesn't substantially interfere with day-to-day activities. Depending on the patient's particular situation, a healthcare expert should be consulted before deciding whether to pursue treatment.