Everyone, from children to the elderly, can experience shaking hands. This condition generally occurs due to fatigue, cold, or because you are feeling angry or scared. However, this complaint should not be underestimated if it occurs frequently or is accompanied by other symptoms because it can be a sign of certain diseases.
Older people often experience shaking hands, for example when pouring a drink or trying to reach for certain objects. Shaky hands can indeed be a sign of natural aging which is normal.
However, on the other hand, shaking hands is at risk of being an early symptom of a more dangerous disease. In severe cases, shaking hands can also be a sign of a neurological disorder related to a degenerative disease, such as Parkinson’s disease.
Shaky hands are generally caused by a disturbance in the brain which controls body movements. These involuntary and unwanted movements can be mild or severe and also temporary or chronic, depending on the underlying cause.
Causes of Shaking Hands
Shaking hands that persist, or are often felt, can indicate certain diseases or conditions, such as:
- Essential tremor, which is a common shaking of the hands that are frequently used or even both, when they want to move
- Parkinson’s disease is a chronic disease that interferes with brain function and coordination of body movements and can cause tremors when the patient is still or when the muscles are not used and actually subside when moving
- Low blood sugar levels
- Overactive thyroid gland
- Multiple sclerosis is a disorder of the nervous system, brain, and spine, which affects body movements
- Peripheral neuropathy, which is damage to the peripheral nervous system
- Brain tumor
- Huntington’s disease
- Poisoning with certain substances, such as mercury, carbon monoxide, and manganese
- Excess consumption of caffeine and alcohol
- Side effects of consuming certain drugs, such as antipsychotic drugs, asthma medications, amphetamines, and corticosteroids
Although the shaking hands in Parkinson’s disease have characteristics that can be distinguished from essential tremors, the symptoms of both disorders can worsen over time if left untreated.
Apart from the hands, people with essential tremors can experience tremors in other limbs, such as the eyelids, lips, head, arms, or vocal cords. Essential tremors can be genetic. This condition also has no known cause or treatment.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Shaking Hands
Symptoms of shaking hands that are mild or not caused by an illness generally get better on their own. This applies to shaking hands due to stress, cold, fatigue, or consumption of caffeine and alcohol.
However, complaints of shaking hands need to be watched out for and immediately consulted by a doctor if you experience the following:
- It gets worse, even while resting
- Occurs prolonged, severe, or has greatly interfered with daily activities
- Accompanied by other symptoms, such as weakness, headaches, abnormal tongue movements, muscle stiffness, or uncontrollable movements appear
To confirm the diagnosis and find the cause, the doctor will carry out a physical examination and supporting examinations, such as blood and urine tests, CT scans , MRI, electromyography or EMG (muscle nerve examination), and EEG (brain electrical examination).
After the diagnosis of shaking hands is determined, the doctor will provide treatment according to the cause. Meanwhile, to relieve complaints of shaking or tremors in the hands, doctors can give drugs belonging to the class of beta-blockers propranolol, anti-seizure drugs, sedatives, or botox injections. If the complaint does not improve with treatment, the doctor may suggest surgery.
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