What Causes Shaking and Shivering from Hunger?

Most of us are familiar with the rumbling, gurgling or growling in our stomach, aren’t we?Hunger is very common and a normal reaction of our body when it craves for food. It just simply means that our body needs to be replenished again for it to function.

How about shaking with hunger?While some people experience shaking when they are hungry, this should not be shrugged off as this could be a sign of medical condition.

What Causes Shaking from Hunger?

When you’re hungry, your body undergoes several processes of energy conservation and gives you a signal that you need food intake. Trembling or shaking is one of the most notable symptoms of hunger. This trembling is similar to the shivers that you feel when the temperature is cold. However, sometimes , it is not a light matter as it could be a tell-tale sign of these 8 medical conditions.

1.   Benign Essential Tremor

Essential tremor is a type of nerve disorder which is characterized by uncontrollable shaking in different sides and different parts of the body. Affected areas are usually the arms, hands, larynx, head, chin and tongue.


Primary signs include a shaking voice, uncontrollable shaking that happens for short periods of time, shaking that gets worst during stressful situations, nodding head, shaking that lessens after rest, shaking that becomes worst with purposeful movements, problem balancing.


There’s no required treatment for benign essential tremor, however, you should seek treatments when you find it socially unacceptable or it interferes with your ability to function. Oral drugs such as Mysoline, Inderal, Topamax and Neurontin are given to reduce the severity of the tumor. Botox injections may also be an option. For those that have severe tremor, deep brain stimulation is a surgical treatment.

2.   Low Blood Sugar

Hypoglycemia, also known as low blood sugar, is a potentially dangerous condition that is commonly happening in people diagnosed with diabetes. Not having enough blood sugar will make it hard for your body to function normally.


Signs and symptoms include shaking from hunger, rapid heartbeat, blurry vision, sudden nervousness or changes in mood, pale skin, unexplained fatigue, dizziness, headache, trouble sleeping, sweating, trouble with concentration or thinking clearly, tingling feeling of skin and seizure, loss of consciousness or coma.


Eating foods rich in carbohydrates should be the first treatment for low blood sugar. Having high-carbohydrate snacks in your pocket is a must-have for people with diabetes. Taking glucose tablet supplement is also recommended if your blood sugar is too low.

3.   Parkinson Disease

This is fairly common age-related and progressive type of brain disorder that causes loss of muscle control and balance and affects your movements caused by problem with certain nerve cells in your brain.


Signs vary per person and change as the disease is progressing. The most common and initial symptom of Parkinson disease is tremor. It often affects the arm, hand or leg and happens when you're still and usually disappears or gets better when you move that body part. Other symptoms include aching and stiff muscles, limited and slow movement, difficulty with balance and walking, weakness of throat muscles and face and freezing.


Though there is no known treatment that can totally cure this disease, there are lots of options to relieve the symptoms and give you a better quality of life. Medications such as dopamine agonists and levodopa are commonly prescribed. You can also opt for speech therapy, physical therapy and occupational therapy to improve your total health.

4.   Malnutrition

Though it’s a broad term, this condition generally refers to overnutrition and undernutrition. It can be defined as insufficient, imbalanced or excessive consumption of nutrients.


Signs and symptoms include:

  • Having difficulty breathing
  • Shaking
  • Loss of adipose tissue
  • Higher risk of hypothermia
  • Higher sensitivity to cold temperature
  • Longer recovery from illness, wounds and infections
  • Lower sex drive
  • Fatigue, exhaustion or apathy


Consult with your healthcare professional for proper diagnoses and treatment. They will teach you on how to have a healthy and nutritious diet generally.

5.   Insulin Reaction

This condition occurs when a patient with diabetes is confused or even become unconscious because of having low blood sugar caused by oral diabetic medication or insulin.


The duration of insulin reaction is parallel to the severity of the symptoms. Patients display signs such as irritability, dizziness, hunger, sweating, shaking, rapid heartbeat, headache, confusion, poor coordination, becoming unconscious, hypothermia, seizures and even coma.


Drink something with sugar immediately such as regular soda or fruit juice. You can also get an instant fix of glucose by eating sugar wafers or taking glucose tablets.

6.   Acute Stress Reaction

Acute stress disorder (ASD) is developed after you experienced a traumatic event.


You’ll experience three or more symptoms as listed below if you have ASD:

  • Shaking from hunger
  • Feeling of numbness or emotionally detachment
  • Becoming less aware of your surroundings
  • A recurring flashback of the traumatic event
  • Having the urge to avoid people, conversations or places


These methods are used by doctors for the treatment of this condition:

  • Medications such as antidepressants, anti-anxiety medication or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors to relieve your symptoms
  • Hypnotherapy
  • Exposure-based therapies
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy

7.   Dementia with Lewy bodies

It is a type of progressive dementia caused by abnormal microscopic deposits that damages your brain cells over time and leads to a decline in reasoning, thinking and independent function.


Signs include a feeling of confusion, visual hallucinations, trouble with visual information interpretation, loss of memory and exhibiting symptoms of Parkinson’s such as balance problems, hunched posture and rigid muscles.


Unfortunately, no treatment is known yet to stop the brain cell damage caused by this condition. Medications such as cholinesterase inhibitors, antidepressants, antipsychotic drugs and clonazepam are prescribed to relieve the symptoms.

8.   Cocaine Abuse

Cocaine is a type of drug that increases the level of dopamine in your brain.


Common signs and symptoms of cocaine use include disinhibition, increased agitation, being hyperactive, involuntary movements such as muscle tics, recurring symptoms similar to cold, change in focus and concentration.


There are two types of treatments provided to patients with cocaine abuse. These are behavioral therapies and pharmacological therapies which administer medication for the treatment of cocaine dependency.

Now that you know that shaking from hunger may be the common symptom of these conditions, you should never take this sign lightly. Consult with your doctor immediately to ensure that you are on top of your health.