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What is benign essential tremor?

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Quick Answer

Essential tremor, as it is often called, is a neurological disorder that causes a rhythmic tremor, or shaking, defines Mayo Clinic. The disorder most often affects the hands but can occur almost anywhere in the body, including the head, arms, legs or larynx.

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Full Answer

Essential tremor is not dangerous, but it can become severe in some people, states Mayo Clinic. The shaking may be confused with Parkinson's disease, and it can develop at any age. It arises most often in people 40 and older.

The cause of essential tremor is not understood, but it is believed that the thalamus processes the abnormal electrical brain activity responsible for it, explains WebMD. The thalamus controls and coordinates muscle movement. Its cause is likely multifactorial, which means that several environmental and genetic factors play a role in its development. The main symptom is tremors, though patients sometimes experience abnormalities in balance and gait. The tremor worsens when the person is hungry, agitated, emotional, tired or during extreme temperatures.

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