Everyone gets a case of the hiccups eventually. It’s caused by spasms in the diaphragm that can occur for pretty much no reason. It can be uncomfortable but is hardly ever life threatening. Here are some things about hiccups you probably didn’t know.
1. If hiccups last for more than 48 hours, there’s an underlying cause
Random bouts of the hiccups are perfectly normal and aren’t the sign of any disease. That is, of course, they last for longer than two days. If that’s the case then there’s an 80% chance that there’s something else wrong that’s causing hiccups. The other 20% is usually psychological problems. In any case, if you have them for that long, there’s something else wrong.
2. Lots of things can cause hiccups
Hiccups can be caused by a number of things. Alcohol consumption, smoking, sudden changes of temperature (both inside of and outside of your stomach), a bloated stomach from overeating, shock, stress, and excitement have all been linked to causing short term bouts of hiccups. Long term hiccups can be caused by gastrointestinal or respiratory distress, diabetes,
3. None of those home remedies work
Hiccups only last for a few minutes and there are no recognized remedies to make them stop aside from doctor-administered medicine. So drinking water, holding your breath, or getting scared actually doesn’t help. It’s likely that by the time these events occur, the hiccups have naturally stopped on their own. Sites will still list the home remedies but you’ll notice that they’ll only refer to them as things that “may help” rather than “will help”.
4. One superstitious standpoint are that hiccups are caused by hate
An old wives’ tale asserts that you only have hiccups when someone is talking about you in a negative way and that the only way to cure it is to guess the name of the person who is doing it. Of course, this isn’t true because if it were there would be people on this planet who would never stop hiccuping! In Russia, an old folklore states that hiccups occur when someone is thinking about you (good or bad). A third superstition asserts that hiccups mean that you are cursed with bad luck and that Satan lives inside of you.
5. The sound of a hiccup is caused by your own body cutting the air off
The trademark hiccup sound has been used in cartoon comedy for ages but how is it made? When the diaphragm contracts, it causes a quick intake of air that is promptly cut off by the closing of the vocal cords. The resulting noise pops out as a hiccup! According to studies, it takes about 35 milliseconds between the diaphragm contraction and the closing of the windpipe.
6. Everyone can get hiccups
If you thought there was a demographic that never got the hiccups, guess again. People of all races, all sexes, and all ages can get the hiccups from the oldest people to the youngest children. That includes fetuses that are still inside the womb. They can get hiccups too! It’s almost kind of poetic. Hiccups don’t discriminate. They also affect pretty much any animal with an evolved respiratory system including cats and dogs!
7. The average person has a hiccup frequency of 4-60 hiccups per minute
There is actually a unit of measurement for hiccup frequency and it’s hpm (hiccups per minute). The average person has a 4-60 hpm. That means there are people up there who hiccup once per second for a whole minute. That sounds like the opposite of fun.
8. Hiccups have a total of three names currently
You know the first one which are hiccups. The other two are diaphragmatic spasms and singultus. The first one is pretty self explanatory. Singultus comes from the Latin phrase “singult” which is loosely translated as “the act of catching one’s breath while sobbing.” In the olden days, hiccups were also called yox, hickot, hickock, hitchcock, and hiccough. Eventually, it became hiccups and that’s the way it stayed.
9. There was a guy who hiccuped for 68 years
From 1922 to 1990, a man by the name of Charles Osbourne had a case of the hiccups. Reportedly, he was picking up a pig to weigh it when he started to hiccup and he just kind of never stopped. He continued to live a full life, fathering eight children and getting married twice.
It’s a common occurrence but we still don’t known what causes hiccups exactly. The reigning theory is that the diaphragm gets irritated somehow and decides to contract until the irritation goes away. After a few minutes, it doesn’t matter anyway because they’ll be gone. Unless your name is Charles Osbourne, then it’d be a good idea to seek medical attention.
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