Fainting (syncope)

Fainting is a condition where one suddenly loses consciousness for a short time. Fainting can be caused by a number of things but mainly it is caused by lack of oxygen and/or blood to the brain. Just before fainting you can feel dizzy or nauseous.

In some cases, fainting occurs so suddenly that you cannot feel anything before. You may also have to sit or lie down just before you faint. Sometimes a fainting is caused by a lack of oxygen/blood to the brain due to an existing medical condition such as epilepsy, and other times it may be due to bad news, pain or vomiting.

What causes fainting?

Fainting is mainly caused by a fall in blood pressure, which can be due to many different things. In practical terms, a person’s blood pressure may fall when suddenly standing up. A reflex reaction due to some discomfort can also cause a person to faint. This can happen, for example, if you get to see blood or something else that you find uncomfortable. Furthermore, bad news, very stressful situations or pain can cause fainting and even vomiting. Low blood sugar, which can be caused by hunger as well as fluid deficiency or both and, can also lead to fainting.

What are the symptoms?

Dizziness, cold sweat, nausea, dark eyesight, whistling in the ears and feeling warm are some of the signs a person gets just before fainting. Sometimes it can also happen so suddenly that the person does not even have time to feel any of the symptoms.

How is fainting treated?

If you feel that you are dizzy, lie down, preferably with your legs taller than your head to help the blood flow down to your head. If you can’t lie down, you can also squat, with your head between your knees. If you know that you faint easily and are aware of what triggers the faint, you can avoid or process them. If you are aware that you have low blood pressure, for example, you can try to get up slowly and carefully.

If someone else has failed, place the person in a supine position and check the person’s heart rate and breathing, free their mouth if there is something there, make sure that the person’s clothes are not tight and lift the legs. Then you have to wait a minute and see if the person wakes up by himself, or else you contact the emergency department immediately.

When should you definitely seek care for fainting?

One must be careful and attentive to one’s body and behavior. It is definitely time to seek care when you fall asleep, when you fall suddenly without any warning, in case of severe heart palpitations when you are fainting or if there is irregular or delayed heartbeat when fainting.

Furthermore, you should seek care if it takes more than 2 minutes before waking up or if it takes a long time to recover after fainting. These symptoms may be signs that you have failed due to some illness and investigation as well as treatment should therefore be done. It is recommended that you call medical advice on telephone number 911 or contact the emergency department if any of these symptoms occur.

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