Solutions in Sight for 7 Million Americans Suffering from Essential Tremors
It’s time to close the deal after a successful business meeting, but you’re too embarrassed to sign the documents. You want to host a dinner party, but you’re terrified of serving the coffee. You no longer send birthday cards to your grandchildren because your shaking hands have rendered writing impossible. Sound familiar? Perhaps you have an “Essential Tremor,” a neurological disorder. You’re not alone in either your illness or your self-consciousness.
In fact, 7 million Americans and 5 percent of all those over 65 years old suffer from this neurological disorder in varying degrees. Although commonly thought to be a “senior condition,” there are plenty of cases involving patients as young as adolescents. But what exactly is an essential tremor and what, if anything, can be done to restore your quality of life?
Essential tremor, defined as an uncontrollable tremor of the extremities, is usually seen in the hands, arms, and legs, although it can also affect the head and voice. Labeled an “action tremor,” the shaking of the extremities is not present when the muscles are at rest. The illness typically progresses over time, from a mild irritant to a severe impediment.
If you think you are showing signs of an essential tremor, check with your doctor and then see a movement disorder neurologist. Seeing a specialist is especially important because tremors may be a symptom of several other illnesses, including multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, or a traumatic brain injury.
Essential tremor has no known medical explanation, although there is a clear genetic component. Researchers have discovered that essential tremors originate from overactive cells in the ventral intermediate nucleus section in the thalamus. The good news is that physicians have been able to “quiet” these cells, significantly reducing the tremors. Deep brain stimulation, Gamma Knife surgery, medication, and Neuravive, an innovative and potentially game-changing treatment, are known therapies that reduce essential tremors.
Deep brain stimulation is a surgical procedure in which electrodes are implanted to regulate abnormal brain activity, including the kind that leads to essential tremors. The physician targets the specific area in the brain, makes a hole in the skull, and inserts the electrode. This ongoing treatment can be stopped at any time.
Gamma Knife surgery targets beams of radiation at the abnormal overactive cells. While considered a surgery, the procedure is non-invasive and there is no general anesthetic required, nor do the radiation beams damage healthy tissue. Patients receive local anesthetic followed by radiation that sends hundreds of beams into the head. It usually takes several months for Gamma Knife surgery to reduce essential tremors and the results, including any side effects of radiation, are irreversible.
At present there is no specific medication that treats essential tremor. There are several medications, however, that have proven to reduce symptoms in 70 percent of patients who suffer from the condition. These are mostly beta-blockers, the same FDA-approved medication prescribed to treat high blood pressure. Anti-seizure medication is often prescribed to those 30 percent of patients who do not respond to beta-blockers.
Neuravive is the most recently developed method to treat essential tremor. Although relatively new, this innovative procedure utilizes FDA approved focused ultrasound technology for essential tremor patients who have not responded to medication. This methodology uses MR-guided focused ultrasound waves that are directed at a target area of the brain to destroy abnormal cells. Each beam lasts for 15 seconds. The procedure is non-invasive, requires no anesthesia, and is regularly performed on an outpatient basis. Physicians locate the affected area, confirm the area with medium-level sound waves that pose no threat of tissue damage, then increase the sound wave’s intensity to destroy the cells, while at all times monitoring the essential tremor for positive results.
Neuravive is a safe non-surgical procedure with immediate results with minimal patient downtime. MR-guided Focused Ultrasound technology has the potential to radically change the lives of essential tremor sufferers, as positive results eliminate the tremor completely. The results are not reversible. For additional Safety and Risk Information, please visit http://tremoreducation.com/neuravive-safety-risk-information/.
Living with an essential tremor can disrupt the most routine social and professional elements in our lives. The Essential Tremor Education Center provides numerous resources to begin the path towards treatment of this condition. If you have an essential tremor, you are not alone. Contact the Essential Tremor Education Center to learn how you can restore your quality of life.
“The purpose of the Center is to empower patients seeking to understand the various solutions offered for Essential Tremor,” explains Terry Newmyer, Managing Director of the Essential Tremor Education Center. “Folks with interest in tremor therapy should really take the ‘End My Tremor Now Quiz’ at TremorEducation.com.”
Consult with your physician to see whether Neuravive is right for you.