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Tremor is a rhythmic, shaking movement of the limbs, head or voice produced by involuntary muscle contraction and relaxation. Approximately 1.5 million people in the United States have essential tremor, making it the most common movement disorder. Tremor may become increasingly disabling, preventing patients from performing routine daily tasks.
Parkinson’s disease is a complex, progressive and degenerative neurological disorder that causes loss of control over body movements. Parkinson’s disease is the second most common movement disorder, affecting about 1 million people in the United States. As Parkinson’s progresses, it may become increasingly disabling, making routine daily activities difficult or impossible. Some patients with severe Parkinson’s disease become wheelchair-bound or bedridden, although patients can experience extreme variations in movement control — from periods of virtually normal motor function to episodes of complete immobility. In addition to motor problems, Parkinson’s can cause dementia, problems with blood pressure and depression.
Dystonia is a movement disorder characterized by involuntary muscle contractions, which force certain parts of the body into abnormal or contorted, and, sometimes painful, movements or postures. Dystonia affects about 250,000 people in the United States, making it the third most common movement disorder. The muscle contractions that characterize dystonia can interfere with basic daily functions, such as walking, sitting, sleeping, eating, and talking.
Huntington’s disease is a rare inherited neurodegenerative condition that causes involuntary movements, cognitive impairment and personality change or depression. It leads to debility, and patients ultimately reach a bedridden state.
Ataxia refers to progressive balance and coordination problems that may result from damage or deterioration of the cerebellum – the part of the brain that is responsible for many tasks, such as speaking and walking.
Tourette’s, which often runs in families, is characterized by brief involuntary movements (tics), fragments of normal movements or involuntary sounds. Attention-deficit disorder or obsessive-compulsive disorder may accompany this disorder.
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