What Causes Hiccups and Are Hiccups Dangerous?


According to WebMd, most of the time, hiccups are a relatively harmless spasm of the diaphragm causing the glottis to make an unusual noise that we all know as hiccups.So what causes the hiccups to happen, that is, what causes the diaphragm to spasm? Lots of things can do this, as well as nothing at all. Sometimes, there is no real indication as to what can cause hiccups. Some of the most common causes include:

  • Eating too fast
  • A full stomach
  • Drinking too fast
  • Gulping air or swallowing air
  • Smoking

Other less common but recognized causes of hiccups includes: drinking alcohol, rapid temperature changes, or mood changes or excitement.

Are Hiccups Dangerous?

Most of the time, hiccups are completely safe, though somewhat annoying, occurrences. Everyone has hiccups from time to time, and for most people, nothing ever comes of them.

The hiccups will go away within a few minutes for most people.

However, when hiccups last longer than about fifteen minutes or occur regularly throughout the day, it might be a sign of a potential problem. Persistent hiccups are defined as hiccups that last longer than 48 hours or that return for short bouts frequently during a 48-hour period.

What Dangerous Do Persistent Hiccups Pose?

The hiccups themselves aren’t usually a danger, but hiccups, especially persistent hiccups that are hard to get rid of or reoccur regularly, could be a sign or symptom of a larger problem.

Some of those problems include nerve damage, emotional problems, certain types of cancer, metabolic disorders, kidney dysfunction and more.

For this reason, if you have a bout of persistent hiccups-that is, hiccups that recur in several 15-minute or longer episodes throughout a 48-hour period of time-it’s very important you see your doctor or health care professional know this is a symptom you have. Also, if hiccups happen frequently over a short period of time, even if they don’t last for a full 15 minutes or they go away before 48 hours but then come back, it’s important to consult a health care professional to see if the hiccups are a symptom of another problem.

Hiccups and Heart Disease

There has been reported on some medical websites that hiccups can be related to heart disease, or can be an early warning sign for problems with the heart. Though the clinical correlation hasn’t been strongly tested, because of this correlation, it’s important to let a doctor know if hiccups become persistent or happen more frequently than usually. This is especially true if hiccups are occurring with heart palpitations, high blood pressure readings, chest pain, dizziness, vision problems or other symptoms of heart problems.

Hiccups won’t kill you, but they can be a warning sign of diseases and problems that could, so be sure to report hiccups to your doctor when they are different, new, persistent or unusual, or if they are accompanied with any other symptoms.


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