Also called: Syncope

Fainting is a temporary loss of consciousness. If you're about to faint, you'll feel dizzy, lightheaded, or nauseous. Your field of vision may "white out" or "black out." Your skin may be cold and clammy. You lose muscle control at the same time, and may fall down.

Fainting usually happens when your blood pressure drops suddenly, causing a decrease in blood flow to your brain. It is more common in older people. Some causes of fainting include

  • Heat or dehydration
  • Emotional distress
  • Standing up too quickly
  • Certain medicines
  • Drop in blood sugar
  • Heart problems

When someone faints, make sure that the airway is clear and check for breathing. The person should stay lying down for 10-15 minutes. Most people recover completely. Fainting is usually nothing to worry about, but it can sometimes be a sign of a serious problem. If you faint, it's important to see your health care provider and find out why it happened.

Symptoms of Fainting

The following features are indicative of Fainting:
  • lightheadedness
  • sweating
  • pale skin
  • blurred vision
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • feeling warm
  • short episode of muscle twitching

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Common Causes of Fainting

The following are the most common causes of Fainting:
  • very hard cough
  • have a bowel movement
  • have been standing in one place for too long
  • low blood pressure
  • emotional distress
  • fear

Other Causes of Fainting

The following are the less common causes of Fainting:
  • severe pain
  • certain medicines used for depression, anxiety and high blood pressure
  • drug abuse
  • alcohol consumption
  • hyperventilation
  • low blood sugar levels
  • episodes of seizures
  • sudden drop in blood pressure

Risk Factors for Fainting

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Fainting:
  • abnormal electrocardiographic findings
  • concomitant trauma
  • absence of symptoms of impending syncope
  • male gender

Prevention of Fainting

Yes, it may be possible to prevent Fainting. Prevention may be possible by doing the following:
  • if you feel the symptoms of fainting, lie down and lift your legs

Occurrence of Fainting

Number of Cases

The following are the number of Fainting cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Very common > 10 Million cases

Common Age Group

Fainting most commonly occurs in the following age group:
  • Aged > 50 years

Common Gender

Fainting can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Fainting

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Fainting:
  • Blood test: To measure hemoglobin level to detect anemia or blood loss
  • Electrocardiogram: To check the electrical activity of the heart
  • Tilt table test: To draw out orthostatic syncope secondary to autonomic dysfunction

Doctor for Diagnosis of Fainting

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Fainting:
  • Neurologist
  • Cardiologist

Complications of Fainting if untreated

Yes, Fainting causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Fainting is left untreated:
  • can be fatal

Procedures for Treatment of Fainting

The following procedures are used to treat Fainting:
  • Insertion of a pacemaker: Activates the heart's muscle contractions by sending electrical impulse to the heart
  • Catheter ablation: To kill very small areas of tissue that cause abnormal electrical signals
  • Cardioversion: To restore the heart's normal rhythm
  • Implantable cardioverter defibrillator: Monitors the heart

Self-care for Fainting

The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Fainting:
  • Lie down or sit down: To lower the chance of fainting again
  • Place head between your knees: Helpful in preventing fainting

Patient Support for Treatment of Fainting

The following actions may help Fainting patients:
  • Coordinate with health care providers: Provides information and helps in coping with the disease

Time for Treatment of Fainting

While time-period of treatment for each patient may vary, below is the typical time-period for Fainting to resolve if treated properly under an expert supervision:
  • Within 1 day

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 2/04/2019.
This page provides information for Fainting.
Autonomic Nervous System Disorders
Low Blood Pressure

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