North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

Health

September 9, 2009

Numerous home remedies exist to fight condition known as hiccups

Health Watch By Steve Mullenix

Special to The North Jefferson News




Hiccups is a common condition that affects nearly everyone at some point.

Hiccups result from an involuntary contraction of the dia-phragm. The dia-phragm is a muscle that separates your chest from your abdomen, and plays a major role in breathing. When this muscle contracts suddenly, it is followed by a sudden closure of the vocal cords, which produces the characteristic “hic” sound.

The diaphragm normally works perfectly. When you inhale, it pulls down to help pull air into your lungs. When you exhale, it pushes up to help push the air out of your lungs. Hiccups are the result of the diaphragm jerking which makes you suck air into your throat suddenly.

Hiccups may result from a large meal, alcohol consumption or sudden excitement. Rarely are hiccups a sign of an underlying medical condition.

There is a documented unusual case of hiccups involving Charles Osborn. No one is quite sure what happened to Charles Osborn back in 1922. Charles suffered from no ordinary case of the hiccups; it was the world record hiccup fit, lasting for 68 years until it mysteriously stopped in 1990. It is estimated that Charles hiccuped an estimated 430 million times.



Other causes

• Nerve damage or irritation: The most common cause of long-term hiccups is damage or irritation to the vagus or phrenic nerves that service the diaphragm. This could result from a hair or something else in your ear touching your eardrum, sore throat or laryngitis, a tumor, cyst, or goiter in your neck, or the common condition of GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease).

• Central nervous system disorders: A tumor or infection of the central nervous system can damage the central nervous system and result in trauma that disrupts the normal control of the hiccup reflex. This can result from a stroke, Multiple Sclerosis, Meningitis, Encephalitis, or traumatic brain injury.

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