Sickly son worries mother
Over the past few years, he has developed a visible constant shaking of his body, particularly noticeable in his arms and hands, even when he is eating. He is married and has no children. Seeing him during the holidays, my husband (his stepdad) and I were shocked at his appearance. He has always been a handsome man. Now, apart from the frightening, continuous shaking, he has a sick, unhealthy color, with his face blotchy and gray. His eyes are rather sullen and baglike. He coughs occasionally, sometimes almost choking.
When asked, his wife said he has been to the doctor, had a few preliminary tests and is fine. "They could find nothing wrong with him."
My husband and I love them both, and we are so worried about my son. What can we do? He has always been a dear man, and we are just sick over this.
DEAR READER: Tremors are unintentional muscle movements that commonly affect the hands, arms, legs, head, face and other areas of the body. There are more than 20 types of tremor that are often caused by difficulties in parts of the brain that control muscles. They occur at any age but are more common in middle-aged and older men and women. The cause of body shaking (tremors) depends on which body parts are involved. Simple possibilities include a feeling of apprehension or nervousness brought on by an event that occurred or is pending; prescribed drugs such as stimulants and amphetamines with shaking as a side effect; the excessive use of alcohol or withdrawal from it; or stroke, multiple sclerosis, traumatic brain injury, Parkinson's and Huntington's disease.
Beyond the body shaking, you indicate your son continues to smoke and cough, his complexion is gray and he appears unhealthy. This is of more concern to me from a medical point of view. He may have cardiac abnormalities, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or other more ominous problems. If his wife indicates he is fine, it would likely be in his best interest to make an appointment with another physician for a complete examination, blood work, X-rays, an EKG and anything else the doctor deems appropriate. My guess is that he should also consult a top-notch neurologist, who can get to the bottom of his tremors and get him back on track.
You have your hands full. Speak with your son, but keep it short and sweet. You are concerned, you love him, and you want him around for many more years. Ask him to seek medical help as a favor to you (and to him and his wife) to ensure this. Help is out there. He simply has to reach out and help himself. Good luck.
Readers who would like information on one form of tremor can order my Health Report "Parkinson's Disease" by sending a No. 10 envelope and a $2 check or money order made payable to Newsletter and mailed to Newsletter, P.O. Box 167, Wickliffe, OH 44092-0167. Be sure to mention the title or print an order form off my website at www.AskDrGottMD.com
Dr. Peter H. Gott is a retired physician and the author of several books, including "Live Longer, Live Better," "Dr. Gott's No Flour, No Sugar Diet" and "Dr. Gott's No Flour, No Sugar Cookbook," which are available at most bookstores or online. His website is www.AskDrGottMD.com
Copyright 2011, United Feature Syndicate, Inc.
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