Strange happenings in your body that don’t seem to serve a purpose, such as hiccups, have always fascinated me for some odd reason. Hiccups are so uncomfortable and I don’t know why they have to happen. If I get a hiccup attack, I do anything I can to try and stop them; go through a series of repeating the word orange and holding my breath, ask my friends to scare me when I least expect it, and drink some extra water. Although, none of my methods seem to quite get the job done consistently.
According to Dr. Charlotte Grayson, hiccups do not fulfill any need for your body. Just as I suspected, they are simply a nuisance. Hiccups can honestly be embarrassing, depending on what context they happens in. Once, I had the hiccups at work and had to attempt a conversation with a customer through intermittent gasps of air and cut off words. How did this happen? Dr. Rupal Christine Gupta explains the diaphragm is to blame; under the lungs, the diaphragm moves to let air in and out, but sometimes it doesn’t do its job correctly. Hiccups happen when the diaphragm moves abnormally quickly, which makes you inhale a lot of air that makes your vocal chords shut faster than normal. (picture fromhttp://civiceducation.clevelandclinic.org/Student-Projects/Student-Projects/2014-Fact-or-Fiction-Does-Scaring-A-Person-Get-Rid.aspx) John B. Snow points out hiccups may be remnant of what “humans” needed to breathe under water in ancient times because tadpoles go through a very similar motion when using their sub-aquatic breathing skills. Just thinking about it, if global warming continues, humans may need to reinstate those breathing skills!
Hiccups should not be taken lightly in every case. The Mayo Clinic Staff suggest going to see your physician if hiccups last for two days, or get so bad they make other bodily processes difficult. Two days seems like a long time to be hiccuping. Dr. George Krucik indicates many chronic reasons hiccups could be occurring. In a lot of cases, hiccups are harmless, but serious hiccuping could be a sign something else is wrong in the body because a confounding variable could be causing hiccups and a disease. Don’t be too alarmed though, because according to Austin Campion, you can’t directly die from the act of hiccuping. That’s a relief, but not really a surprise. I haven’t heard of people dying from hiccuping. Just think about how many people hiccup everyday. Imagine if that caused death! Our population would dwindle very fast.
After my research, I think I can learn to live with hiccups. They are annoying, but since I can’t stop them really and I do not have some chronic disease causing them to happen, I should not be complaining. The next time I get a bout of hiccups, I’ll just blame my diaphragm and remind myself how blessed I am to be healthy. Also, I’ll have some extra information to share with a friend when they start hiccuping. They may not want to hear it, but I’ll feel educated and I hope you now are a little more educated on hiccups as well.