Fainting Episodes

Fainting episodes may medically be termed as syncope or syncopal attacks. The basic mechanism among most of such cases is common.

One faints when the blood supply to the brain is reduced transiently due to some cause.

There can be many different reasons why the blood flow gets reduced and the person faints. The cause is determined by looking into the patient’s history of any associated illness and examining if any other symptom is associated with fainting.

Common Forms Of Syncope

Vasovagal Fainting

This is most common form of fainting, accounting for almost 50% of daily fainting cases.

You may have noticed feeling dizzy, when you get up from bed hastily after sleep, or twist your neck abruptly, or after hearing any bad news that’s shocking for you.

In any of these events, basically our vagus nerve gets stimulated. This is a thick nerve belonging to parasympathetic system. On stimulation, it slows down the heart rate. It also pools up blood in our lower limbs, thus reducing the overall blood reaching the heart. The blood pressure is therefore reduced.

Above situation makes grounds for lesser blood reaching the brain tissues. Consequently, you feel dizzy and may even faint down.

Common Factors That May Stimulate Your Vagus

  • Emotional factors, like some bad news, shock or grief.
  • Abrupt bodily movements, especially involving the neck, as in dancing, twisting or workouts.
  • Bright sunlight
  • After getting up from bed or toilet seat
  • After standing for a long time
  • Upon seeing a crime or dead body
  • On seeing blood or bodily fluids
  • On hearing someone scream in pain or fear

Orthostatic Syncope

This is the type related to your position and postures. When standing for long hours or being without water for quite some time, you may feel lightheaded. This may even result in fainting.

Commonly, the affected person has low blood pressure. He may be dehydrated or anemic. There may be a history of blood loss or over strain.

Differentiating Between Being Unconscious Due to a Seizure and Syncope

Loosing consciousness may occur in situations other than syncope. One such situation is getting a fit or seizures.

Seizures may occur in disorders affecting our brain. In such episodes, the person is usually alright before. All of a sudden, a fit may occur. Blood pressure is usually normal. The episode is usually followed by extreme tiredness.

It’s common for a person to urinate during any such episode. You may even notice a muscle or a group of muscles becoming stiff during the event.

Syncopal attacks are entirely different. The blood pressure of the affected person is usually low during any such event. The episode may be preceded by extreme fatigue, headache, shoulder pain, dizziness, chest pain, or some other symptom.

After the episode, the person may gradually recover. There is no muscle stiffness, urination or salivation associated with the episode.