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Are tremors always a sign of Parkinson's?

(22 Posts)
eastwest Tue 22-Dec-15 22:00:39

A relative in their late 60s has had hand tremors for years, and they are getting worse. Can't get them to go to the doctor about it. Is this likely to be Parkinson's? Are there other things it could be? Thanks for any advice.

hellhasnofurylikeahungrywoman Tue 22-Dec-15 22:04:42

My dad is in his 70s and has had a tremor in his hands for years that has progressively worsened but is not Parkinson's. Dad only tremors when he is using his hands (whereas I think Parkinson's makes you tremor at rest too)

Costacoffeeplease Tue 22-Dec-15 22:05:19

There can be other causes like nerve damage or muscular problems, but if it has happened for a long time and is getting worse, then obviously Parkinson's is a possibility

If they don't want to go to the doctor, there isn't much you can do, however, medication can help to alleviate the symptoms

Zazedonia Tue 22-Dec-15 22:08:01

Have they lost their sense of smell? Do they have the other symptoms of Parkinson's?

blamethecat Tue 22-Dec-15 22:09:27

My mum has something called benign tremors and has done for a long time she is 67, not related to Parkinson's she has been told, but they should go and see the go for a proper diagnosis.

DamnCommandments Tue 22-Dec-15 22:09:40

Benign essential tremor runs in my family. Can be treated with beta blockers, but we all just live with it! My Grandad is mid-90s and its now so bad he can hardly sign a cheque, but he hates going to the doc...

eastwest Tue 22-Dec-15 22:10:59

I don't think they have other symptoms but it is difficult to know because they are not keen to talk about it. I'm sure they've not lost their sense of smell because they mentioned a smell to me the other day.
The tremor is only, I think, when they are using their hands. E.g. carrying a tray, pouring something - it is extremely noticeable and often someone else has to do it or they'd burn themselves on hot tea, etc.

eastwest Tue 22-Dec-15 22:12:41

Perhaps it's benign tremors then. I will look that up, thanks!
The relative's attitude is, 'if it's Parkinson's they can't do anything' and I think they would just rather not know/ have to face it.

Costacoffeeplease Tue 22-Dec-15 22:19:25

Their attitude is wrong though - I know someone who has had Parkinson's for 20 years, and lives a fairly normal life until recently, due to drug and surgical treatments - not knowing doesn't make it go away, unfortunately

Outaboutnowt Tue 22-Dec-15 22:19:35

My uncle has Parkinson's.

My dad in his 50s has developed a hand tremor. He was obviously worried so he went to the GP and the doctor said it is just that - a tremor. It's worse when he's stressed or tired.

The GP said the most common first noticeable symptoms of Parkinson's is developing a shuffle or stiffness when you walk and your writing becoming much smaller. A tremor is also an early indication I think but on its own it's unlikely to be Parkinson's.

mineofuselessinformation Tue 22-Dec-15 22:24:44

Someone here with a dd who has benign essential tremor. It can be just that - but really it needs to be investigated.

AltogetherAndrews Tue 22-Dec-15 23:05:10

Dh had a tremor for years which got worse, turned out to be a symptom of Graves' disease, which is treatable, essentially it's an overactive thyroid.

eastwest Wed 23-Dec-15 00:05:19

Costa Oh yes it is wrong - and the relative in question is a retired medical professional which makes it even more frustrating sad.
I'm trying to give as few details as possible here so as not to out myself but this relative has a lifetime working as a medic and is the most reluctant person I have ever met when it comes to going to the GP, you have to practically drag them there.
Altogether - that sounds a possibility.

eastwest Wed 23-Dec-15 00:07:07

This relative is basically quite a catastrophic/ downbeat thinker - anxious all the time and I think has jumped to the conclusion that it must be the worst case scenario.

Thymeout Wed 23-Dec-15 09:36:26

I have a tremor in my right hand. It runs in the family - my dm and dgf both had it. Neither went on to develop Parkinson's.

I began to notice it in my early 60's. Takes me longer to slice a tomato or thread a needle. Handwriting a bit shaky. Worse some days than others.

There's quite a simple test that the GP can do. I think it involves touching your nose? I'd imagine that your relative, being a medic, has done that and decided no need for a referral.

Without other symptoms, I think he's probably right that he doesn't need to see his GP.

AltogetherAndrews Wed 23-Dec-15 10:48:17

Anxiety is also a symptom of Graves

MerdeAlor Wed 23-Dec-15 10:58:41

There are quite a few causes of tremor, including certain medications and inherited tremors as mentioned above.

From memory Parkinsons is a pill rolling type movement with the hand. There are likely to be lots of other symptoms with PD too that would be noticable.

aginghippy Wed 23-Dec-15 11:15:07

My dad has Parkinson's. He takes medication that minimises his symptoms, so there is something that can be done. There is no cure, though.

He had a tremor for a couple of years, at least, before he decided to go to the doctor about it. It was a big step and very upsetting for him to be given the diagnosis. In a way, it is a catastrophe to realise that you have an incurable disease and will be on medication for the rest of your life.

aginghippy Wed 23-Dec-15 11:17:46

And even if your relative has some other neurological disease not Parkinson's, it still could be incurable.

aginghippy Wed 23-Dec-15 11:20:47

Also medics are notoriously bad patients. Reluctance to go to the GP is very common, almost a stereotype.

eastwest Wed 23-Dec-15 20:57:44

aginghippy - I know, it doesn't inspire confidence that they're such bad patients, does it! smile
I don't think the anxiety is part of it though -that is just thisperson's character and has been forever.
I think you are spot on about it being a huge step to get a diagnosis - the initial mention of Parkinson's came from this person (I wouldn't have thought of it, not being medically trained) and I think it's just fear. Understandable sad

Twitterqueen Wed 23-Dec-15 21:05:31

Another one here with benign essential tremor. I've had it since my late teens / early twenties though I didn't know what it was then.

I hate it. People think I'm either terribly nervous or very hungover. I can't eat properly with a knife and fork - the food falls off. I can never have tea in a cup and saucer.

I could have Botox but because it's benign I don't want to have medication for it. It runs in the family. I put up with it but feel the need to explain a lot at work.

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