Have you ever wondered what causes hand tremors?
Medical professionals provide insights into the possible causes and underlying health conditions associated with shaky hands. While hand tremors are common when you’re stressed or tired, they can indicate other issues you must address.
Shaky hands occur involuntarily and can be more apparent during some tasks and hardly noticeable during others. They signify several potential health conditions, and determining the cause can help you address the issue and improve your overall health. You can get medical help with the underlying complication.
Tremors occur naturally and aren’t always noticeable. However, sometimes they interfere with your daily tasks and affect overall functioning. They can make it hard to accomplish essential things, making you get behind or feel bad about yourself.
Visiting a medical professional can help determine the underlying issue causing your trembling hands. When you know what you’re dealing with, you can follow a treatment plan and get the necessary help. You can also make lifestyle changes to improve your overall quality of life.
Understanding Shaky Hands
Hand tremors are uncontrolled hand movements that cause shaking of the hands or involuntary trembling. It can occur during rest if you’re stressed or anxious. You might also experience it after consuming caffeine or not getting enough sleep.
However, if you begin noticing it during intentional movement, it could signify underlying health concerns. It could interfere with activities like drinking, eating, buttoning a shirt, writing, phone use, and other essential tasks. If this is the case for you, consider seeing a doctor to determine the cause.
Some tremor triggers to keep in mind include the following:
Neurological Conditions and Shaky Hands
Some neurological conditions can cause shaky hands, including the following:
This nervous system condition is the most common tremor disorder. It causes involuntary tremors when doing simple tasks, but the shaking stops when you aren’t using your hands.
You might notice it when tying your shoes, drinking, eating, or performing other essential activities. It worsens during times of stress or fatigue. You’re also more likely to notice it after consuming caffeine or when your body temperature is high.
This progressive nervous system disorder involves damaged brain cells. These cells communicate with your muscles and affect movement and coordination. It typically starts with one hand but can go on to affect the other one, and it also causes your arms and legs to become stiff.
If this is the reason for your tremors, it will be most noticeable when your hands rest. You might experience shaking when your hands are on the side of your body or resting in your lap.
If this is the reason for your tremors, it will be most noticeable when you rest your hands. You might experience shaking when having your hands hanging on the side of your body or resting in your lap.
A cerebellar tremor is a slow but visible shaking that can happen to your hands, arms, legs, or feet. It typically occurs after you do a purposeful action like flipping a switch.
You can experience this situation if you’ve experienced cerebellum damage, including in the pathways that lead to other parts of your brain. It typically occurs after a stroke, tumor growth, injury, genetics, or alcohol abuse.
Medications and Drug Side Effects
Tremor-inducing medications can cause shaky hands, including those for seizures, migraines, and neuropathy. Some antidepressants, mood stabilizers, stimulants, and asthma medications can cause the issue. Bronchodilators used for respiratory conditions also can trigger shaky hands.
When medication causes tremors, other symptoms aren’t usually associated with it. Tell your doctor how the medication makes you feel and which side effects you notice.
They can change the dose or prescribe a different medication. If they can’t change your prescription, they may give you something else to help control the shaking.
Metabolic and Hormonal Disorders and Hand Tremors
Sometimes metabolic and hormonal disorders can cause shaky hands. If this is the case for you, you should seek medical guidance to help with a diagnosis and treatment plan.
Hyperthyroidism, or an overactive thyroid, means your gland is overworking. It increases your heart rate and triggers tremors. If hyperthyroidism is the issue, you’ll likely lose weight without explanation, experience light sensitivity, and have trouble sleeping.
Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar levels, causes your muscles and nerves not to get enough. When this happens, you might experience tremors in your hands. The underlying causes of low blood sugar could involve diabetes, medications, over-consuming alcohol, or not eating enough.
Adrenal gland disorders that affect hormone production include a rare tumor called pheochromocytoma. This tumor is typically benign but can cause increased blood pressure levels. If this is the issue, you’ll have shaky hands and experience heavy sweating, headaches, and shortness of breath.
Anxiety and Stress and Shaky Hands
Sometimes your hands can get shaky when you’re anxious or stressed. Living with a generalized anxiety disorder or experiencing panic attacks can trigger hand tremors. An acute stress reaction also triggers stress-induced tremors.
These situations cause your nerves to go into overdrive, increasing your heartbeat and causing your hands to shake. Usually, the shaking will stop when the stress goes away, but that’s not always the case.
If stress and anxiety cause hand tremors that interfere with your daily tasks, you don’t have to live with it. Visiting a therapist or psychologist can help you control your symptoms and live a better life.
Using anxiety and stress-reducing techniques can also help. A professional can help you determine what will work for you and offer tips you can try.
Some anxiety and stress-reducing methods you can try at home include the following tips:
- exercise regularly
- avoid alcohol
- stop smoking cigarettes
- try aromatherapy
- practice deep breathing techniques
- get enough sleep
- drink herbal teas
- reduce caffeine intake
Alcohol Withdrawal and Hand Tremors
One of the most common alcohol withdrawal symptoms is hand tremors. In some severe cases, you might get delirium tremens, which can cause seizures and death if left untreated. The duration and severity of alcohol-related tremors depend on the level of alcohol dependency.
Tremors from alcohol withdrawal can happen anywhere from six to ten hours from the last drink. They get worse between 48 and 72 hours, and feeling stressed or anxious during this time can prolong the situation.
Staying busy can help you think of something other than your withdrawal symptoms, allowing you to push through. Spend time on a hobby, exercise daily, meditate, and listen to or watch something upbeat. If you can push through the symptoms, you can overcome the situation.
Essential Nutrient Deficiencies That May Cause Shaky Hands
A vitamin B12 deficiency can affect your nervous system health. It can make your arms and legs numb and tingly, and you might also experience memory loss, confusion, and depression.
Increasing your vitamin B12 is easy if you consume more of these foods:
- fish and shellfish
- fortified cereal
- low-fat dairy products
A magnesium deficiency can cause tremors in your hands, as it’s essential for muscle control. You might experience muscle spasms or stiffness that makes you shaky. It can happen if you have a poor diet, genetic disorders, consume too much alcohol, or have a gastrointestinal condition.
If you want to increase your magnesium levels, add these foods to your diet:
- dark chocolate
- leafy greens
- low-fat dairy products
- whole grains
When you experience deficiencies in any vitamins and minerals, it can trigger shaky hands. Severe malnutrition can lead to neurological symptoms that cause shaking.
Taking supplements for these deficiencies can help you live healthier without as many hand tremors. You can also consider adding more nutrient-dense foods to your diet to increase your nutrition levels naturally.
Seeking Medical Evaluation
Seeking medical consultation for shaky hands can help you get a proper diagnosis. A medical professional can help determine the issue and find a solution to help you live a better life. They will assess your symptoms, review your medical history, and do a physical exam.
A doctor will likely run diagnostic tests, including blood work or imaging, to help determine the underlying cause. They can also provide a specialist referral to a neurologist or other professional.
If you see a neurologist, they’ll test how well your nervous system functions. They’ll also check your tendon reflexes, muscle tone, strength, and how well you feel sensations. Additionally, a neurologist will test for posture, coordination, and gait to help determine the underlying issue.
Final Thoughts on the Health Implications of Shaky Hands
Living with shaky hands might impact your daily tasks and disrupt your quality of life. When symptoms persist or become hard to handle, it’s time to do something about it.
Shaky hands can happen for many reasons, and seeking medical evaluation is essential for proper diagnosis and treatment. The underlying causes of hand tremors could involve stress or anxiety, consuming caffeine, hyperthyroidism, not getting enough sleep, and other health complications. Gaining medical insights on shaky hands can help you make positive changes to help you improve your overall health and well-being.