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Familial tremor

  • Definition

    Familial tremor is a neurologic disorder that tends to run in families, which results in shaking (tremor) that gets worse during movement or activity.

    Alternative Names

    Tremor - familial

    Causes, incidence, and risk factors

    Tremors can affect people at any age, but they are most common in older people. Familial tremors affect more than one person in a family. The condition causes a rhythmic, moderately rapid tremor (shaking) of voluntary muscles.

    Purposeful movements may make the tremors worse. People with familial tremors may have trouble holding or using small objects, such as silverware or a pen. Emotional stress may also increase the tremors.

    Over time, the tremors may affect the hands, arms, head, voice box, eyelids, or other muscles. The tremors rarely involve the legs or feet. In children, these tremors are usually limited to the hands and rarely require treatment.

    The exact cause is unknown, but the fact that it is passed down through families (inherited) suggests that genes play a role. Familiar tremor is usually a dominant trait, which means that about 50% of a patient's children will also have the tremors. If you inherit one copy of the gene from either parent, you will have the disorder.

    See also: Essential tremor