Thursday, October 04, 2012


What Causes Hiccups

Hiccups are classified into three categories: normal, protracted or persistent, and intractable. Protracted are those hiccups that last over 48 hours, but not more than one month. Intractable hiccups continue for more than one month. If hiccups occur for less than 48 hours, they are considered ‘normal’.
In regards to the function of hiccuping, it was once thought that this ac
t was just a twitch of the diaphragm (the muscle that separates the thorax from the abdominal cavity and is the main muscle involved in breathing). It has since been shown to be a much more complex process. It starts with a sudden, strong contraction of all muscles involved in inspiration. This is followed almost immediately by the glottis, or vocal cords, closing shut. This clamping of the chords is what causes the infamous ‘hic’ sound. The top of the mouth and back of the tongue then move up, making an occasional associated burp, as the diaphragm then contracts forcefully. The heart will also tend to slow down during this process. This is thought to be caused by the stimulation of the Vagus nerve, which slows a person’s heart rate.

No comments:

Post a Comment