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Shaky Hands

Last reviewed by Dr. Raj MD on January 12th, 2022.

Shaky hands are defined as the involuntary shaking in a rhythmic pattern. It can occur to anyone at any age although it is prevalent among elderly people. The condition can occur even to a healthy individual even without the necessary cause. The incidence however can be worrisome and can be a bit embarrassing.

Not all shaky hands should call for a medical alarm but there are cases where a shaky hand signifies an underlying condition where shaky hand is among the symptoms. Shaky hand is a condition technically referred to as a tremor characterized by the involuntary movement of the muscle of the hand.

Although generally not a cause for alarm, shaky hands should be consulted with a doctor, especially if it is associated with other symptoms or if there is any history of disease in the family where shaky hand is among the manifestations. The condition itself could be linked to an existing health condition and could be pointing to a brain damage and other degenerative diseases.

The incidence of shaky hands can be attributed to a lot of reasons and a lot of medical conditions. The onset of shaky hands is not just a single incidence but it does involve the body in general and is only apparent in the hands. The incidence can affect many people from all walks of life and without racial predilection. Children can also get affected but the incidence for most are likely to be linked to any existing medical condition or some congenital condition. Shaky hands that are non-specific and rarely occur should not cause any worry but should be observed for time while shaky hands that remain persistent and uncontrollable should be brought to a health professional for proper assessment and treatment.

Causes

The incidence of shaky hands can be influenced by various factors and causes which may or may not be medically specific. The incidence can also be benign or it can be severe while it can be persistent and uncontrollable or it may rarely occur and without any reason.

Essential tremor is regarded as the most common cause for the hands to shake. This type of tremor is characterized by an involuntary shaking of the hands when the hands or the arms are placed in opposition with gravity. Shaky hands in essential tremor are being linked with heightened emotion, low blood sugar, emotional and physical stress, physical exhaustion and may also be a family history which can be passed on to offspring.

Substance overdose is also a factor that can trigger the involuntary shaking of the hands. Overdose in substance like caffeine can trigger the adrenaline and boost the energy which in return can cause the hands from shaking. Alcohol abuse is also a factor that can influence the hands from shaking involuntarily.

Medications or certain drugs such as that use to treat asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease can also cause the shaky hands as its side effects among patients taking the drugs. Drugs like albuterol, corticosteroids and theophylline all influence the incidence of shaky hands. The use of beta-agonist and or withdrawal from certain drugs such as anti-anxiety drugs can all cause the hands to shake uncontrollably.

Neurological disorders are also being associated with shaky hands. Parkinsonโ€™s disease is a movement disorder and a progressive disorder that involves the nervous system. The early course of the disease includes the shaking of the part of the body which is the apparent symptom and which can affect the hands.

Other common causes of shaky hands include the following:

  • Low levels of blood sugar
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Stroke
  • Anxiety
  • Emotional and physical stress
  • Fatigue

Treatment for Shaky hands

The treatment for shaky hands depends on the underlying cause. The incidence of shaky hands that is persistent and uncontrollable needs to be evaluated by a health professional in order to determine the exact cause. The incidence could be from a serious medical condition where shaky hands are among the symptoms. The shaky hands can only be resolved if the underlying condition or cause is treated.

Lifestyle change is necessary in shaky hands that resulted from the likes of substance abuse. Caffeine overdose should prompt an affected individual to refrain from taking too much dose of caffeine in their diet. Shaky hands that resulted from the medications being taken should be discussed with the doctor to promptly and appropriately address the problem.

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