The Sun News

KENT: Tremors make big impact on man's life

By ALLINE KENT Sun News correspondent

Tyler Bryant
Tyler Bryant

Since the day he was born, Tyler Bryant's body has shaken uncontrollably.

By the time he was 13, he was diagnosed with essential tremor. Now 29, Bryant is trying to bring awareness of the disease he has had his entire life.

Essential tremor is unintentional muscle movements most common in hands, arms, trunk or voice. Bryant suffers from hand, arms and voice tremors.

There is no agreed upon cause and no known cure.

Bryant takes 10 pills a day to manage the tremors; the medicine lessens but doesn't eliminate them. Bryant's tremors impact his daily life -- activities such as writing, eating soup or drinking and dressing himself.

"Essential tremors make everyday tasks difficult, not impossible, but difficult," Bryant said.

Along with making everyday tasks difficult, the tremors impact a person in other ways, Bryant says.

"Social situations are very hard," he said. "The difficulty of doing things, like drinking out of a glass compounded with other people's opinion of you shaking and thinking, drugs, alcohol, or that you are just nervous."

Bryant says that people often see the shaking and think he has Parkinson's -- a different disease. Essential tremors are worse when the body is in motion, but with Parkinson's the tremors are worse when at rest.

Parkinson's is more well-known, thanks in part to high-profile Parkinson's sufferer Michael J. Fox. But about 10 million people in the United States suffer from essential tremors as opposed to the four million people that have Parkinson's.

In order to bring awareness to the disease, Bryant has organized proclamations from the governments of Warner Robins, Perry and Houston County declaring March as Essential Tremor Awareness Month. His ultimate goal is to organize a support group for people in the Middle Georgia area that suffer from essential tremor.

"I have received a lot of support from my family and friends but also from a Facebook group. There is a lot of misunderstanding about the disorder and what we are living with. I want to bring it to the forefront for more understanding," said Bryant.

Unfortunately, the disease is progressive.

"I think about it, where I will be five years from now, 10 years from now," Bryant said.

To learn more about essential tremors, visit the website www.essentialtremor.org. For more information about forming a support group, contact Bryant by emailing him at tylerbryant@cox.net.

Alline Kent can be contacted at 396-2467 or allinekent@cox.net

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