Fainting is defined as a condition where the affected person suffers from a brief and unexpected loss of consciousness. The following article provides information on the symptoms associated with fainting.
Fainting is medically referred to as syncope. The brief loss of consciousness occurs when the blood and oxygen supply to the brain, becomes alarmingly low. The common contributing factors include low blood sugar, dehydration, low blood pressure, physical exertion, standing up too quickly, straining during bowel movements, coughing, standing for long periods of time, stress, prolonged exposure to hot or stuffy environment, etc. Medical conditions such as arrhythmias, stenosis (abnormal narrowing of a bodily canal or passageway), heart attack, diabetes, stroke, etc., might be the triggers. Standing under the sun for long hours may also cause some people to faint.
Some people may experience lightheadedness while sitting or standing, nausea, warmth, cold sweats, clammy skin, and pale appearance of the skin before they are about to faint. Some people experience symptoms which include blurred vision, visual of spots in front of the eyes, and dilated pupils. While the person remains unconscious, he may have a low pulse rate of 60 beats/minute.
In some cases, symptoms that may accompany syncope include vomiting, fever, palpitations (rapid and irregular heart beats), chest pain, shortness of breath, weak and abnormal pulse, headache, loss of balance or coordination, slurred speech, and double vision. Incontinence, confusion, tinnitus, feeling of biting the tongue, and sustained convulsions are some symptoms that may occur before an episode of fainting.
The first and foremost step that should be taken by an observer is to call 911 and seek medical help at the earliest. Once the doctor is able to diagnose the underlying cause or trigger, the patient will be advised to avoid the trigger or take drugs for treating the underlying cause. If the causes are not serious enough, generally no treatment is required. However, drug therapy would be required in case of recurring fainting spells. Doctors may prescribe drugs, depending on the underlying cause.
If the patient feels that he is about to faint, then lying down and lifting the legs up will help in keeping the blood flowing to the brain and thus, prevent syncope. Sitting down and putting the head between the knees also helps in some cases. Old patients must wait for a second or two after changing positions. If dehydration is a possible cause of fainting, then taking plenty of fluid would be the most beneficial thing to do.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.