ZocdocAnswersIs the shaking in my hand a sign of Parkinson's disease?

Question

Is the shaking in my hand a sign of Parkinson's disease?

My left hand is shaky. I notice especially when I got to grab something, but it seems to tremble quite a bit. I'm only 40 years old. Is this an early sign of Parkinson's disease or am I just worrying too much?

Answer

A hand tremor is often the first sign of Parkinson's disease. The good news is that your hand tremor does not sound like a Parkinson's tremor. A Parkinson's tremor is typically a slower tremor that occurs at rest and goes away when the person attempts to use the hand. Your tremor appears to occur more often when you go to grab something. We call this an intention tremor which is not a sign of Parkinson's disease. An intention tremor is usually something that is just a benign finding seen in many people. It usually doesn't cause a whole lot of problems and people learn to deal with it either with a low dose of medication or in other ways. If your tremor is new, it seems to be getting worse, or is inhibiting you from doing the usually things you used to do, then you should get it checked out right away. This is because sometimes intention tremors can be a sign of a problem in a part of the brain called the cerebellum. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. He or she can take a more detailed history of your symptoms and perform a neurological examination. If the tremor is concerning to your doctor, you may get a referral to see a neurologist.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.