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Signs Your Hiccups Mean Something is Seriously Wrong

If your hiccups last more than 48 hours, it can be more than an inconvenience.
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For most people, hiccups are an occasional inconvenience. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, hiccups are involuntary contractions of the diaphragm — the muscle that separates your chest from your abdomen and plays an important role in breathing. "Each contraction is followed by a sudden closure of your vocal cords, which produces the characteristic 'hic' sound," they explain. While they can start and stop for no specific reason, they are usually the result of an irritation to your diagram and be provoked by a variety of things, including eating too fast or too much, drinking alcohol or carbonated beverages, or even as a result of sudden excitement. However, they can also signify that something is seriously wrong. Read on to find out what, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus


"Chronic Hiccups" Can Last for Months

Sick woman coughing, experiencing hiccup.

"For most people, a bout of hiccups usually lasts only a few minutes. Rarely, hiccups may persist for months," explains the Mayo Clinic.  If you have hiccups for more than 48 hours, you should call your medical practitioner.


They Can Lead to Weight Loss

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If you continue to hiccup, it can make eating difficult. Eventually, this could result in weight loss, says the Mayo Clinic.


They Can Cause Exhaustion 

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Due to the fact that hiccups can make it difficult to sleep, a long bout can result in extreme exhaustion. 


They Can Complicate Breathing

Pretty brunette coughing on couch at home in the living-room.

Hiccups can also make it harder to talk or even breathe. 

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They Can Be a Result of Nerve Damage or Irritation

Woman touching her throat.

According to the Mayo Clinic, one cause of long-term hiccups is "damage to or irritation of the vagus nerves or phrenic nerves, which serve the diaphragm muscle." A variety of factors can contribute to these nerves becoming damaged or irritated. For example, it could be a a hair or something else in your ear touching your eardrum, a tumor, cyst or goiter in your neck, gastroesophageal reflux, or due to a sore throat or laryngitis


They Can Be Due to Central Nervous System Disorders

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Additionally, a tumor or infection in your central nervous system or damage to your central nervous system as a result of trauma can also be disruptive and cause chronic hiccuping. The Mayo Clinic provides examples that include encephalitis, meningitis, multiple sclerosis, stroke, traumatic brain injury, or tumors.


They Can Be Caused By Metabolic Disorders and Drugs

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Long-term hiccups can also be triggered by metabolic disorders and certain types of drugs or alcohol. Alcoholism, anesthesia, barbiturates, diabetes, electrolyte imbalance, kidney disease, steroids, and tranquilizers can all be culprits. 


One Man Had Hiccups as a Presenting Symptom of Coronavirus

Female doctor with a patient who is complaining of chest pain during coronavirus epidemic.

"Think you can rely on just symptoms to diagnose a Covid-19 coronavrius infection? Well, here's yet another hiccup in that plan. Or rather a bunch of hiccups," reports Forbes. "A case report recently published in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine suggests that persistent hiccups, otherwise known as hiccoughs, could actually be a symptom of Covid-19." However, this was reported back in August and there haven't been a flurry of hiccup cases since.

RELATED: COVID Symptoms Usually Appear in This Order, Study Finds


What to Do if You Suffer From Chronic Hiccups

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If your hiccups last more than a few days or keep coming back, the U.S. National Library of Medicine suggests seeking medical attention. "If you have chronic hiccups, contact your health care provider," they urge. "If you have a condition that is causing the hiccups, treating that condition may help." Treatment options may include medicines, surgery, and other procedures. As for yourself, contact a medical professional if any of this becomes an issue, and to protect your life and the lives of others, and don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

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