Fainting, also known as “blacking out” or “passing out,” is generally well understood and accepted in today’s society.In fact, many do not seek medical attention for fainting episodes until multiple instances have occurred. Yet it is important to know the causes of fainting, as this temporary loss of consciousness can be a sign of a serious underlying medical condition.
Fainting happens when the oxygencarrying blood to the brain falls below the minimum requirement for a short period of time.This is typically caused by a sudden drop in blood pressure, resulting in a lower-than-normal blood volume reaching the brain.Many factors can cause this phenomenon, some of which are benign and some of which are quite serious.Below are the different types of fainting episodes and the conditions involved for each.
- Reflex faints can be caused by coughing, sneezing, swallowing, straining, or carotid sinus syncope.Drug use can also induce fainting, as can certain diabetic complications. Reflex fainting can be prevented by identifying and avoiding the triggering circumstances.
- Anxiety attacks and hysterical reactions can mimic fainting, but are not actually considered a true faint.
- Certain heart-rhythm disturbances can induce fainting.Bradycardia (slow heartbeat), tachycardia (fast heartbeat), and other electrical disturbances of the heart can all lead to a temporary loss of consciousness. It’s important to visit a cardiologist for treatment of a heart-rhythm disorder.
- Heart or blood vessel diseases are serious conditions that can lead to fainting.Heart attacks, heart valve disease, and obstructive heart muscle disease should be given immediate medical attention.
If you live in Merrimack Valley and think that you may be at risk for heart disease, contact the professionals at Pentucket Medical Cardiology.Our goal is to provide each patient with the experienced, professional care necessary to maintain a heart-healthy lifestyle.Contact us at (978) 521-3288 or visit our website for more information.
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