Why are my hands shaking?

Experiencing hand tremors can be unsettling, evoking worry and uneasiness about potential health issues. Perhaps you’re living life normally but come across an obstacle which leaves you wondering, “why are my hands shaking?”. The complex phenomenon of hands tremor can stem from various causes, ranging from temporary stress to more serious neurological conditions such as Essential tremor or Parkinson’s disease. Let’s explore the world of hand tremors, breaking down the potential reasons behind your hands shakiness.

Understanding what Hand Tremors are

Hand tremors are involuntary, rhythmic hand movements that can manifest as hands shaking or trembling. They can also be oscillatory, with back-and-forth movements of the hands and fingers. These are a result of abnormal activity in the brain regions which are responsible for controlling movement. These tremors can occur at rest or during intentional movements and can affect a person’s ability to perform everyday tasks which require coordination and precision.

The types of Hand Tremors

Essential Tremor (ET): Essential tremor is one of leading causes of hand tremors. It is a neurological disorder characterized by rhythmic shaking, that typically occur in the hands during an “action”. This means that tremor is invoked by doing any tasks, such as holding a cup, utensil or writing. While essential tremor is not life-threatening, it can have a significant impact on a person’s quality of life. Essential tremor may also affect other body parts such as the head, voice or legs.

Parkinson’s Disease Tremors: Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disease which affects movement. Tremors oftentimes start on one side of the body and may spread to the other side over time, often accompanied by slowness, rigidity and balance problems. Shakiness associated with Parkinson’s disease typically occur when the affected area part is at rest and decrease or stop during purposeful movement.

Psychogenic Tremor: Factors such as emotional stress and psychological factors can sometimes lead to psychogenic tremors. Unlike other types of tremors, this tremor can come and go, and oftentimes disappears when the affected individual is distracted.

Physiological Tremor: This is a normal and usually unnoticed tremor, which can be enhanced by certain conditions such as hyperthyroidism, hypoglycaemia or anxiety. It can be worsened by factors such as caffeine, fatigue, nicotine or certain medications. Physiological tremors usually affect both hands and are more noticeable when holding a position or performing a fine movement, usually not requiring any treatment.

Causes of Hand Tremors

Stress and Anxiety: Stress and anxiety are well-known triggers for hand tremors. The body’s natural response to stress involves the release of hormones such as adrenaline, which can increase muscle tension and lead to shaky hands. While these tremors are usually temporary, chronic stress or anxiety may contribute to more persistent symptoms.

Fatigue: A tired body and mind are more prone to tremors. Lack of adequate sleep and physical exhaustion can contribute to shaky hands. Prioritizing good sleep hygiene and managing fatigue can help alleviate these tremors.

Caffeine : Excessive consumption of caffeine can lead to increased excitability of the nervous system, resulting in tremors. For some individuals, even moderate amounts of caffeine can trigger shaky hands. It’s important to be mindful of personal tolerance levels and adjust caffeine intake accordingly.

Dehydration: Insufficient intake of fluid may result in dehydration, affecting the normal functioning of muscles and nerves. Dehydration-induced tremors can often be remedied by ensuring proper hydration.

Low Blood Sugar: Episodes of low blood sugar, often associated with conditions such diabetes or excessive insulin use, can lead to hand tremors. Maintaining stable blood sugar levels through a balanced diet and regular meals can help prevent such fluctuations.

Medication Side Effects: Certain medications, including those prescribed for asthma, mood disorders, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), may list hand tremors as a side effect. If you suspect that your medication is causing tremors, it’s crucial to consult your healthcare provider to explore alternative options.

Managing hand tremors

Whether caused by stress, essential tremor, Parkinson’s disease, or other factors, coping strategies can help minimize the impact on daily life. Hand tremors, not always indicative of a serious problem, can be treated or managed. Serious tremors may require medication, assistive devices, or DBS in severe cases. If suspecting serious factors, consulting a healthcare professional is essential for proper diagnosis and treatment. Understanding why “hands shaking” occurs is the first step toward effective management. To counter your hands shaking, our app STEADY HANDS available on IOS and Android can help you in understanding your shaking better and seeking professional advice on your next step for improvement on your hand tremors. If you believe that there may be other causes to your shaking, you can refer to this article for a more comprehensive read.

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