What are shaky hands?

Shaky hands are a common symptom that can even occur in healthy people. Although there are many causes of shaky hands, in some people there is no known cause. The most common cause is an essential tremor, which often is inherited and considered benign. Shaky hands may occur with conditions that affect only the hands or with conditions that affect the other parts of the body, such as generalized diseases of the neuromuscular system or central nervous system. Diseases that commonly cause shaky hands include Parkinson’s disease, overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism), and multiple sclerosis.

Shaky hands may occur after ingesting or withdrawing from certain drugs or substances, such as alcohol and caffeine. Shaky hands can also result from emotions stimulated by the nervous system, such as anxiety, anger or fear, and from the aging process and its effects on the nervous system. Low blood sugar is also a common cause of this symptom.

Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you experience sudden shaking of the hands accompanied by numbness or weakness of the arm or fingers on one side of your body; a change in level of consciousness or alertness, such as passing out or unresponsiveness; or the worst headache of your life, as these can be signs of stroke.

Seek prompt medical care

if your shaky hands are persistent or cause you concern.


What other symptoms might occur with shaky hands?

Shaky hands may accompany other symptoms, which vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition. Symptoms that frequently affect the digestive tract may also involve other body systems and parts, including the hands.

Drug symptoms that may occur with shaky hands

Shaky hands may accompany other symptoms related to taking or withdrawing from a drug includi... Read more about shaky handssymptoms


What causes shaky hands?

Shaky hands may result from many factors. The most common cause is a tremor related to familial (inherited) traits. Other causes are diseases and conditions that affect the neuromuscular, endocrine or central nervous systems.

Some substances, such as caffeine and tobacco, commonly cause shaky hands because they stimulate the nervous system. Withdrawal from sedating drugs can also ... Read more about shaky handscauses

Medical Reviewer: Cynthia Haines, MD Last Annual Review Date: Aug 8, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Brain and Nerves