DEAR DOCTOR K: My father was recently diagnosed with essential tremor. Is this the same thing as Parkinson's disease? If not, what is the difference?
DEAR READER: Essential tremor is a brain condition that causes tremors: uncontrollable shaky movements of the hands, limbs, head or voice. It is usually mild and is very common, often running in families. It usually starts later in life, but when it runs in families it can start in young adulthood. In contrast, Parkinson's disease is a serious neurological condition that also causes a tremor.