CHESHIRE, Conn. (WTNH) — Four years ago, Helen Moser noticed her hands would start to shake at random moments.
“It’s just an uncontrollable motion,” Moser described.
Sensing something was wrong, she went to see neurologist Duarte Machado, M.D., a movement disorders specialist.
After ordering a brain scan, the diagnosis was clear: Moser had essential tremor, the most common type of movement disorder.
“It’s eight times more prevalent than Parkinson’s disease but people aren’t aware of it,” Moser said.
An estimated 10 million Americans have essential tremor. Moser also learned from Dr. Machado of a tremor in her chin.
“My tremors are not typical for essential tremor because most essential tremors are action or motion tremors,” Moser said. “In other words, when somebody goes to pick up a drink, their hand will shake as they try to get it towards their mouth. My tremors are stationary tremors. They just occur at random.”
Although the cause of essential tremor is unknown, it’s believed to be genetic condition. Today Moser manages her tremors with medication.
“Aside from medication, some [other treatments] include surgical options,” Dr. Machado explained. “One of them is gamma knife therapy. Another option is deep brain stimulation.”
Moser has also founded the first essential tremor support group in Connecticut.
“Our group is a place where we can offer support to each other where we can share coping tips that we have,” Moser explained.
In the two-and-a-half years since it was formed, the group has grown to 104 members from 47 towns across the state.
“Essential tremor is not life threatening but it is life altering,” Moser explained. “Because people with essential tremor become disabled at worst or at best become frustrated or embarrassed sometimes.”
Moser’s hope is to make others aware of the little talked about condition.
“Spreading awareness is so important because essential tremor affects people of all ages, and also because so many people with essential tremor do not realize that it is a condition that can be treated.”
Dr. Machado, of Hartford HealthCare, is the medical director of Moser’s support group, which will next meet on Saturday, October 1st from 1 to 3pm at MidState in Meriden. For more information about the free event, call 1-855-HHC-HERE or visit MidstateMedical.org/TremorSupport.
For more information about Moser’s CT Essential Tremor Support Group, visit TremorSupportCT.org.