When Should You Worry About Fainting or a Change in Mental State?

When Should You Worry About Fainting or a Change in Mental State? 150 150 Tony Guo

When Should You Worry About Fainting or a Change in Mental State?

Losing consciousness, or fainting, can happen to anyone. It’s caused by changes in blood pressure, which push the oxygen from your brain to other parts of your body during times of physical exertion or excitement. While it’s not dangerous in and of itself, if you faint and hit your head it can lead to serious injury or death. When should you worry about fainting or a change in mental state? Here are some symptoms to watch out for.

What is syncope (fainting)?
Syncope is the medical term for fainting and is characterized by an abrupt loss of consciousness, usually preceded by nausea, dizziness, lightheadedness and blurred vision. The most common cause of syncope is prolonged standing with inadequate blood flow to the brain. Syncopes can also be triggered by low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia), blood pressure drops (orthostatic hypotension) or heart arrhythmias (arrhythmia).

What are some reasons you might faint?
Fainting is a common occurrence, but it’s not always harmless. The most common causes of fainting are vasovagal syncope and postural hypotension. Vasovagal syncope is when the vagus nerve overstimulates the heart, causing blood pressure to drop rapidly. Postural hypotension occurs when an individual stands up too quickly, resulting in decreased blood flow to the brain and fainting.

Do I need to worry about my fainting when it’s not related to something I’ve eaten, like nausea, an ear infection, motion sickness or pain?
Yes. If you have fainted and it is not related to something you’ve eaten, it’s important to see your doctor for an evaluation. You may need further testing to determine what the cause of your fainting might be. The good news is that most people who faint will not experience any long-term effects from this type of incident. It’s also important to note that there are other medical conditions that can cause someone to faint which are more serious than those listed above.

Can fainting be dangerous?
Fainting is not always dangerous, but it does indicate that there may be something wrong with your body. The most common cause of fainting is from dehydration. If you have been vomiting, have diarrhea, are pregnant, have low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), are having extreme pain (physical or emotional) and/or have recently consumed large amounts of alcohol then you may be at higher risk for fainting.

What are some common causes of fainting that aren’t emergencies but should be evaluated by your doctor?
Fainting, also called syncope, is caused by reduced blood flow and oxygen to the brain. It can be an indicator of serious issues like heart disease, stroke, or anemia. The important thing to remember when you experience fainting is that it’s not always an emergency – but it should be evaluated by your doctor.

Can anything else cause a fainting spell that doesn’t require medical attention?
It is important to note that there are some other reasons for fainting that may not require medical attention. For example, fainting can also be caused by an anxiety attack, low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), and problems with your heart. Other symptoms to look out for when determining whether something is wrong include: persistent dizziness, difficulty breathing, chest pain, nausea/vomiting, and extreme fatigue.

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