Essential Tremor | Causes & Risk Factors


What causes essential tremor?

It is not clear why some people get essential tremor. It seems to run in families. You may be more likely to have essential tremor if a parent or other close family member has tremor. Tremor can start at any age, but it often begins after age 40. It can get worse as you get older.

Are there different kinds of tremor?

Yes. Many things can cause tremor, and not all tremors are essential tremors. For example, Parkinson's disease causes tremor that you might notice when your hands are resting in your lap or at the sides of your body. A stroke can cause tremor that gets worse when you reach for something. Thyroid problems or low blood sugar can cause mild tremor. Tremor can be caused by some medicines, including heart medicines, decongestants, medicines for breathing problems and tricyclic antidepressants. Drinks that contain caffeine also may cause tremor.


Tremor by S Smaga (American Family Physician October 15, 2003,

Written by editorial staff

Reviewed/Updated: 03/14
Created: 11/04