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Healthy Geezer

There are more than 20 kinds of tremors

By Fred Cicetti | Nov 24, 2011

Q: Is essential tremor the same thing as Parkinson's disease?

Essential tremor is often confused with Parkinson's disease. Unlike Parkinson's disease, however, ET doesn't lead to serious complications. Parkinson's is associated with a stooped posture, slow movement, a shuffling gait and other difficulties.

Not all tremors are ET. There are more than 20 kinds of tremors. For instance, excessive caffeine, alcohol withdrawal, problems with thyroid or copper metabolism or the use of certain medications may cause tremor.

A genetic mutation is responsible for about half of all cases of ET. The only other known risk factor is older age. Although ET can affect people of all ages, it usually appears in middle age or later.  Men and women are affected equally.

Abnormal communication within the brain causes ET. There is no cure yet for this disorder. Tremor is an involuntary movement of one or more parts of the body.  Most tremors occur in the hands. Tremors can also show up in the arms, head, face, vocal cords, trunk, and legs.

Q: What causes snoring?

As you fall asleep, your tongue, throat and the roof of your mouth relax. If they relax too much, they may partially block the flow of air to your lungs. Then the tissue at the back of your mouth vibrates, creating the sound of logs being sawed. As the airway narrows, the vibration intensifies and the snoring gets louder.

Here are some other causes of snoring:

Alcohol relaxes throat muscles, so it promotes snoring.

A soft palate that is long and low restricts the opening from the nose into the throat. That triangular thingy hanging in the back of the palate is called a “uvula.” If your uvula is long, that creates wood-sawing, too.

Overweight people have bulky neck tissue. Extra bulk in the throat narrows your airway.

A stuffy nose or one that is blocked by a crooked partition (deviated septum) between the nostrils requires extra effort to pull air through it. This creates an exaggerated vacuum in the throat, and pulls throat tissues together.

Very loud snoring may also be associated with obstructive sleep apnea, a serious condition. When you have sleep apnea, your throat tissues obstruct your airway, preventing you from breathing. Heavy snorers should seek medical advice to ensure that they don’t have sleep apnea.

About one quarter of adults snore regularly. Almost half of normal adults snore occasionally. Men snore more than women. And snoring usually gets worse as we get older.

Q: What is C-Reactive Protein?

C-reactive protein is made by the liver. Elevated CRP in your blood indicates that you have inflammation or a bacterial infection. CRP levels do not always change with a viral infection.

The CRP in a healthy person is usually less than 10 milligrams per liter (mg/L). Most infections and inflammations produce CRP levels more than 100 mg/L.

CRP is a general test that may indicate a variety of ailments including rheumatoid arthritis, pneumonia, cancer, tuberculosis, appendicitis, bacterial meningitis, inflammatory bowel disease and urinary tract infection.

The test is used to monitor patients. CRP tests don’t diagnose a specific disease; they warn that more testing may be required.

There is a high-sensitivity version of the CRP test (hs-CRP) that is used to assess the risk for heart problems. It measures CRP between 0.5 and 10 mg/L.

Most studies show that heart-attack risk rises with hs-CRP levels. If the level is lower than 1.0 mg/L, the risk is low. There’s an average risk for between 1.0 and 3.0 mg/L. A level higher than 3.0 mg/L indicates a high risk.

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