Tremors In Lupus Patients

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To start this post, I find it is important to describe what the definition of tremor is. Here is the definition from wikipedia:

A tremor is an involuntary,[1] somewhat rhythmic, muscle contraction and relaxation involving to and fro movements (oscillations or twitching) of one or more body parts. It is the most common of all involuntary movements and can affect the hands, arms, eyes, face, head, vocal folds, trunk, and legs. Most tremors occur in the hands. In some people, tremor is a symptom of another neurological disorder. A very common kind of tremor is the chattering of teeth, usually induced by cold temperatures or by fear.

This would seem to be a complete definition but the things I experience do not necessarily fit into this tight definition. I do experience hands shaking, sometimes lip quivering, and muscle twitches at times. The shaking I get that drives me bonkers is where it feels like the whole inside of my body is shaking and it may or may not show in my hands or other body area. It is quite frustrating and scary. It makes me stop whatever I am doing and have to try to lay down and rest to relax my body. It does not seem to be anxiety related either. It cans trike me at random and is puzzling and frightening. So, as I usually do, I thought I would research this out too.

Amazingly, I found not one shred of medical information regarding this, other than others who have had this experience. I usually find things on medical boards or places like medline or webmd but not in this instance. It made me wonder if any of you have had this happen to you too.

I know I saw quite a few others asking this same question as well. I know I am not alone in this. It just may take some time until more is known in the realm of medical professionals for me to find anything online.

Neurological Symptoms of Lupus

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I got this information from the website below. I found it short and sweet. I have neurological minifestations from lupus and therefore this interests me. I thought maybe you all would like it too.

From: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/lupus/lupus.htm

What are Neurological Sequelae Of Lupus?

Lupus (also called systemic lupus erythematosus) is a disorder of the immune system. Normally, the immune system protects the body against invading infections and cancers. In lupus, the immune system is over-active and produces increased amounts of abnormal antibodies that attack the body’s tissues and organs. Lupus can affect many parts of the body, including the joints, skin, kidneys, lungs, heart, nervous system, and blood vessels. The signs and symptoms of lupus differ from person to person; the disease can range from mild to life threatening.

Initial symptoms of lupus may begin with a fever, vascular headaches, epilepsy, or psychoses. A striking feature of lupus is a butterfly shaped rash over the cheeks. In addition to headache, lupus can cause other neurological disorders, such as mild cognitive dysfunction, organic brain syndrome, peripheral neuropathies, sensory neuropathy, psychological problems (including personality changes, paranoia, mania, and schizophrenia), seizures, transverse myelitis, and paralysis and stroke.

Is there any treatment?

 

There is no cure for lupus. Treatment is symptomatic. With a combination of medication, rest, exercise, proper nutrition, and stress management, most individuals with lupus can often achieve remission or reduce their symptom levels. Medications used in the treatment of lupus may include aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications, antimalarials, corticosteroids, and immunosuppressive drugs.

What is the prognosis?

 

The prognosis for lupus varies widely depending on the organs involved and the intensity of the inflammatory reaction. The course of lupus is commonly chronic and relapsing, often with long periods of remission. Most individuals with lupus do not develop serious health problems and have a normal lifespan with periodic doctor visits and treatments with various drugs.

What research is being done?

 

Investigators researching lupus seek to increase scientific understanding of the disorder and to find ways to treat, prevent, and ultimately, cure it. Several components of the National Institutes of Health support research on lupus

Periphreal Neuropathy Treatment and Drugs

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Part 8 in this series from the Mayo Clinic

Treatment and Drugs

Treatments and drugs

By Mayo Clinic staff

One goal of treatment is to manage the condition causing your neuropathy. If the underlying cause is corrected, the neuropathy often improves on its own. Another goal of treatment is to relieve the painful symptoms.

Medications
Many types of medications can be used to relieve the pain of peripheral neuropathy, including:

  • Pain relievers. Mild symptoms may be relieved by over-the-counter pain medications. For more-severe symptoms, your doctor may recommend prescription painkillers. Drugs containing opiates, such as codeine, can lead to dependence, constipation or sedation, so these drugs are generally prescribed only when other treatments fail.
  • Anti-seizure medications. Drugs such as gabapentin (Gralise, Neurontin), topiramate (Topamax), pregabalin (Lyrica), carbamazepine (Carbatrol, Tegretol) and phenytoin (Dilantin, Phenytek) were originally developed to treat epilepsy. However, doctors often also prescribe them for nerve pain. Side effects may include drowsiness and dizziness.
  • Capsaicin. A cream containing this naturally occurring substance found in hot peppers can cause modest improvements in peripheral neuropathy symptoms. Like spicy foods, it may take some time and gradual exposure to get used to because of the hot sensation this cream creates. Generally, you have to get used to the heat before you can experience pain relief. Doctors may suggest you use this cream with other treatments.
  • Lidocaine patch. This patch contains the topical anesthetic lidocaine. You apply it to the area where your pain is most severe, and you can use up to four patches a day to relieve pain. This treatment has almost no side effects except, for some people, a rash at the site of the patch.
  • Antidepressants. Tricyclic antidepressant medications, such as amitriptyline and nortriptyline (Aventyl, Pamelor), were originally developed to treat depression. However, they have been found to help relieve pain by interfering with chemical processes in your brain and spinal cord that cause you to feel pain. The serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor duloxetine (Cymbalta) also has proved effective for peripheral neuropathy caused by diabetes. Side effects may include nausea, drowsiness, dizziness, decreased appetite and constipation.

Therapies
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) may help to relieve symptoms. In this therapy, adhesive electrodes are placed on the skin, and a gentle electric current is delivered through the electrodes at varying frequencies. TENS has to be applied regularly.

Periphreal Neuropathy Tests and Diagnosis

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Part 7 pf this series from the Mayo Clinic website

Tests and Diagnosis

Tests and diagnosis

By Mayo Clinic staff

Peripheral neuropathy isn’t a single disease, but rather a symptom with many potential causes. For that reason it can be difficult to diagnose. Your doctor will need to determine where the nerve damage is and what’s causing it.

Diagnosis usually requires:

  • A full medical history. This includes your symptoms, your lifestyle, exposure to toxins, drinking habits and a family history of neurological disease.
  • Neurological exam. This may include checking your tendon reflexes, your muscle strength and tone, your ability to feel certain sensations, and your posture and coordination.
  • Physical exam. Your doctor will likely do a complete physical exam.

Your doctor may order tests, including:

  • Blood tests. These measure various levels, such as vitamin and blood sugar levels; and bodily functions, such as thyroid, liver and kidney.
  • Imaging tests. Your doctor may request a CT scan or MRI to look for herniated disks, tumors or other abnormalities.
  • Nerve function tests. These may include electromyography — which reads electrical activity in your muscles to determine if your weakness is caused by muscle damage or nerve damage — and nerve conduction studies — which assess how your nerves and muscles respond to small electrical stimuli, generated by a probe and measured by an electrode placed along the nerve’s pathway.
  • Nerve biopsy. Your doctor may recommend this procedure to try to determine what’s damaging your nerves. A small portion of a nerve is removed and examined for abnormalities.

Periphreal Neuropathy, Preparing for Your Appointment

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Part 6 of this series from the Mayo Clinic website.

Preparing for Your Appointment

Preparing for your appointment

By Mayo Clinic staff

You’re likely to start by seeing your family doctor or a general practitioner. However, you may then be referred to a doctor who specializes in nervous system disorders (neurologist).

To make the most of your appointment time, it’s good to arrive prepared. Here’s some information to help you get ready for your appointment, and to know what to expect from your doctor.

What you can do

  • Write down any symptoms you’re experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
  • Make a list of all medications, vitamins and supplements you’re taking.
  • Ask a family member or friend to come with you, if possible. Sometimes it can be difficult to remember all of the information provided to you during an appointment. Someone who accompanies you may remember something that you missed or forgot.
  • Write down questions to ask your doctor.

Preparing a list of questions can help you make the most of your time with your doctor. For peripheral neuropathy, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:

  • What’s the most likely cause of my symptoms?
  • Are there other possible causes for my symptoms?
  • What kinds of tests do I need? Do these tests require any special preparation?
  • Is this condition temporary or long lasting?
  • What treatments are available, and which do you recommend?
  • What types of side effects can I expect from treatment?
  • Are there alternatives to the primary approach that you’re suggesting?
  • I have other health conditions. How can I best manage them together?
  • Do I need to restrict any activities?
  • Is there a generic alternative to the medicine you’re prescribing?
  • Are there brochures or other printed material I can take home with me? What websites do you recommend?

Don’t hesitate to ask other questions that occur to you.

What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions, such as:

  • Do you have any underlying health conditions, such as diabetes or kidney disease?
  • When did you begin experiencing symptoms?
  • Have your symptoms been continuous or occasional?
  • How severe are your symptoms?
  • Does anything seem to improve your symptoms?
  • What, if anything, appears to worsen your symptoms?

Periphreal Neuropathy Complications

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Part 5 of the series on neuropathy from the Mayo Clinic website.

Complications

Complications

By Mayo Clinic staff

Complications of peripheral neuropathy may include:

  • Reduced feeling. Because parts of your body may be numb, you may be less likely to feel temperature changes or pain. This can make you more susceptible to burns or skin trauma.
  • Infection. Make sure to check your feet, as well as any other areas lacking usual sensation, regularly so that you can treat minor injuries before they become infected. This is especially important for people with diabetes, who tend to heal more slowly.

Periphreal Neuropathy Risk Factors

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Part 4 of this series from the Mayo Clinic website.

Risk Factors

Risk factors

By Mayo Clinic staff

Peripheral neuropathy risk factors include:

  • Diabetes, especially if your sugar levels are poorly controlled
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Vitamin deficiencies, particularly B vitamins
  • Infections, such as Lyme disease, shingles (varicella-zoster), Epstein-Barr, hepatitis C and HIV/AIDS
  • Autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, in which your immune system attacks your own tissues
  • Kidney, liver or thyroid disorders
  • Exposure to toxins
  • Repetitive physical stress, possibly from occupational activities