What Causes an Essential Tremor?

The exact causes of essential tremor remain unknown, but roughly half of essential tremor cases involve genetic mutations, reports Mayo Clinic. Abnormality in electrical brain activity processed through the thalamus is suspected to be related to the origin of essential tremor, asserts WebMD.

Essential tremor symptoms typically begin gradually, usually in one or both hands, and worsen with movement, according to Mayo Clinic. Tremors are often exacerbated by emotional stress, fatigue, caffeine and temperature extremes. Familial tremor, the type of essential tremor transmitted genetically, is an autosomal dominant condition requiring only one parent to possess the defective gene in order for it to be inherited.

Offspring of a parent with essential tremor have up to a 50 percent chance of being born with the gene responsible for the condition, but do not necessarily develop symptoms, reports WebMD. ET is the most prevalent movement disorder with as many as 10 million cases reported in the U.S., most frequently occurring among the elderly and typically emerging during adolescence or early middle age.

Treatment is not necessarily required for mild cases of essential tremor, but medications are available to reduce symptoms, states WebMD. In more severe cases surgical implantation of electrical leads into the brain to regulate electrical activity within the thalamus is a treatment option.