Irritating the patient and delighting the people around him/her, hiccups are common in most people. They serve no purpose but cause problems and minor nuisances but prolonged hiccups are indicative of medical problems.
Few Seconds To Decades Together
Hiccups occur 4-60 times per minute and mostly vanish away after 30 or more hiccups. Anything that lasts over a few minutes is a matter of concern. Some hiccups last over 48 hours and are considered persistent or protracted. Some last beyond a month and are termed intractable. There is one uncommon incidence of a hiccup that lasted for over 6 decades continuously! Never does this minor nuisance indicate a major medical problem, even when they last for longer periods. Rarely they are signs of a medical problem, mostly of something that causes irritation of one of the nerves in the chest such as neck tumors, goiters, infections near the diaphragm or hiatal hernia. Apart from such medical conditions, continuously hiccupping causes difficulties in eating, drinking, sleeping and talking, all of which are the basis for a healthy life.
Hiccups are more pronounced during evening hours, commonly seen a few days before the menstrual cycle starts and subsides drastically during pregnancy.
The Mystery Remains Unsolved
The National Organization for Rare Diseases (NORD) describes hiccups as an involuntary spasmodic contraction of the muscle at the base of the lungs followed by the rapid closure of the vocal cords. The root cause behind hiccups remains a mystery till date, but there are certain factors that are associated with an increased risk of causing hiccups:
Stop the ‘Hic’
Hiccups usually go away on their own in a few minutes or hours without medical treatment. Many common home remedies are suggested and are supported to work good on the individual, but there are no authentic proofs to back their relevance and effectiveness.
This universal mystery remains to be solved. Avoid drinking alcohol, sodas, changes in temperature and eating rapidly to stop hiccups from developing.
AVOID FRAUD. EAT SMART.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.