Hiccups (also spelled hiccough) are sudden, involuntary contractions (spasms) of the diaphragm muscle.
When the muscle spasms, the vocal cords snap shut, producing the hiccup sound. They are usually just a temporary minor annoyance, but prolonged hiccups may signal a major medical problem. Women and men tend to get hiccups equally as often, but hiccups that last more than 48 hours are more common in men.
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In a medical setting, the diagnosis of hiccups is based on physical evaluation.
Blood tests or X-rays are usually not necessary unless your hiccups are a symptom of an associated medical condition.
Treatment may include administration of clot-busting drugs, supportive care, and in some instances, neurosurgery.
The risk of stroke can be reduced by controlling high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and stopping smoking.