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Dear What's the Problem,
I can't stop my hand from shaking.

Whenever I speak in public and have to hold my speech in front of me, the piece of paper in my hand shakes so vigorously that even the people sitting on the back rows can see it moving.

I am by nature a very nervous person and most people think this is why my hand shakes so much when I talk to them. But I really don't think this is the case, because even when I am alone, I still find it very difficult to keep my hand steady.

My father and his sister had exactly the same problem - which makes me think this is a medical matter. I am very worried because the older I get the more it seems to shake. Please, can you offer me any advice?

Samuel Gyang, Nigeria.

Advice : Dr Mark Hamilton
*It sounds like Samuel has benign essential tremor, and this is quite common. Unfortunately the shaking hand will be made worse by anxiety and become more noticeable. The benign tremor is genetical and runs through families.

*If he finds this tremor is affecting his life enormously he should maybe try alcohol before he begins a major speech and if this doesn't work then he should try beta blockers. Another drug he could try which is used in the treatment of epilepsy is 'Primadone', it is very effective in the treatment of benign essential tremor.

*Samuel must remember his problem is not dangerous.

The What's the Problem? website is providing general information only.
It should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. The BBC is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made by a user based on the content of the What's the Problem? website. Always consult your own GP if you're in any way concerned about your health.
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  Symptoms of tremor:
There are 2 main symptoms...

*Uncontrollable shaking of the hands, particularly when they are in use, or of the head

* Sometimes, quavering speech

Many people who have benign essential tremor worry that they are developing Parkinson's disease, a serious disease with many other symptoms besides tremor. It is usually easy, however, to tell the difference between the two conditions.

Parkinson's disease:
With Parkinson's disease, the tremor occurs when muscles are at rest. For example, the hands may shake when they are sitting quietly in a person's lap, but the shaking decreases when the person reaches out with the hand or uses it to hold something, such as a cup of tea or a playing card.

Essential tremor:
In contrast, essential tremor is most noticeable when the hands are in use, such as holding something or writing, and decreases when the hands are still.
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