The sight and feeling of shaking hands can cause panic and worry, as they are commonly associated with Parkinson’s disease. However, Parkinson’s disease is only one of many reasons why you might be experiencing involuntarily shaking hands.
Should You Worry If Your Hands Tremble When Trying to Hold Something Steady?
Involuntary trembling movements in your hands are known as tremors and are considered to be common when using your hands in delicate activities. In fact, some amount of tremor movement is normal for everyone, according to the Washington University Physicians website. These tremors are typically induced by lifestyle factors and are referred to as a physiologic tremor.
What Are the Factors? What Happens If Tremors Persist?
These controllable lifestyle factors can increase the possibility of shaking and tremors:
1. Fatigue: Sleep deprivation and exhaustion can be one of the reasons behind shaky hands, as a lack of proper sleep can cause you to increase your caffeine intake.
2. Beverages: A high consumption of alcohol or drinking more than 300 mg of caffeine can cause shaking and other symptoms.
3. Stress: Stress-induced situations can cause enhanced physiologic tremors.
4. Medications: Taking certain medications like amphetamines, thyroid hormones, lithium, and antidepressants can increase tremors.
If the tremors are still occurring even after controlling the stressors, it might be a sign of essential tremors. These types of tremors are the most common tremor syndrome in adults, typically occurring in people 40 years of age and older. They are also visible even when your hands are actively functioning.
How Dangerous Are Essential Tremors?
Essential tremors are a neurological disorder that causes involuntary shaking. Although they are not considered to be a dangerous condition, they do, however, worsen over time and can be severe for some people. They tend to begin gradually and worsen with movement. People can find it difficult to hold a glass without spilling, eat normally, shave, put makeup on, talk, or write legibly.
Essential tremors are genetic and derive from a genetic mutation from a defective gene that can be passed on by a single parent. If you have a parent that has a genetic mutation for essential tremors, you have a 50 percent chance of developing the syndrome, according to the Mayo Clinic.
What Are the Signs of Parkinson’s Disease?
People who have Parkinson’s disease show symptoms of shaking hands, even when their hands are resting, unlike essential tremors.
Parkinson’s disease is known to cause stiffness or slow movement when you walk, as your steps may become shorter or you can find it difficult to get out of a chair. Another sign to watch for is a change in speech patterns and facial expression. You might begin to speak softly, quickly, slur or hesitate when talking, and your face can show little to no expression in the early stages of Parkinson’s disease.
You can also notice a back-and-forth rubbing of your thumb and forefinger. That is known as a “pill-rolling” tremor because it is like rolling a small pill. A decrease in automatic movement is another sign, as is the ability to perform unconscious movements like blinking, smiling or swinging your arms when you walk.
Parkinson’s disease occurs when nerve cells in the brain begin to break down or die gradually. The majority of the symptoms occur when there is a loss of neurons that produce a chemical messenger in your brain called dopamine, which leads to abnormal brain activity. Genes and environmental triggers like exposure to certain toxins can increase your chances of Parkinson’s. Be sure to consult with your doctor if any tremors should become noticeable.Related: 10 Parkinson’s Disease Warnings