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Why Do Humans Hiccup?

Updated on July 4, 2014

Ask Dr. Suess

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Even The Cat In The Hat Hiccups
Even The Cat In The Hat Hiccups
Even The Cat In The Hat Hiccups | Source

Baby Hiccups

Why Do We Hiccup?

My father had been hiccuping for the past six weeks or so. While they were, oh so annoying, we didn't believe that they were indicative of a serious medical condition. He had already been recently diagnosed with cancer and with that breathing down our necks, we thought that the hiccups were the least of our problems. Little did we know that in addition to being aggravating, they were also a sign of impending disaster. We have come to realize that hiccups can be a sign of various medical issues and a side effect of many common medications. In my father’s case, the cause of his hiccups turned out to be an inflammation of the diaphragm due to a slow bleed. That is just one of the medical condition that cause persistent hiccups.
While mammals are not the only creatures that hiccup in the animal kingdom, all mammals hiccup. Human beings are mammals, thus, we hiccup. Sometimes when babies hiccup, we laugh mainly because of the startled look on their faces. However, the older that we get, the more likely that hiccups can be a symptom of something more serious.

Curing The Hiccups

What Are Hiccups?

What Are Hiccups

The anatomy that is involved with a hiccup, or singultus, include the diaphragm, the glottis, (or more commonly the vocal cords), and sometimes a distended stomach. When the diaphragm spasms it causes an sudden inhalation and that breath is stopped by the closing of the vocal cords. This sudden closing of the vocal cords makes the hiccup sound. The most common cause is minor stomach irritation. However, if your hiccups happen too frequently or each episode seems to last longer and longer, I would suggest that you see your doctor to rule out anything serious.



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© 2014 Mary Krenz

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