patient faints

Learn why you may pass out and what to do when it happens

When someone faints, it can be alarming and shocking to those around and the person to whom it occurs. Most of the time, fainting is not a major cause for concern, however, sometimes, it can be caused by an underlying medical condition. How do you know what caused you to faint and if it is time to visit an emergency expert? 

What is fainting? 

Fainting is the loss of consciousness due to the short-term, sudden drop in blood flow to the brain. The medical term is syncope, but “passing out” is more commonly used. Usually, passing out lasts no more than a few minutes, and then you will wake up and return to a normal, conscious state. 

Why did I faint for no reason? 

Realistically, you would never pass out for no reason. Something is going on internally in the body that causes this action to occur where the blood flow and oxygen level to the brain experience a sudden change. 

Main Causes for Fainting:

  • Up to 40% of cases have an unknown reason
  • Heart condition
  • Stress
  • Standing in one place for too long
  • Straining during a bowel movement
  • Medication dosage
  • Dehydration
  • Overheating
  • Seizures or Strokes
  • Diabetes – a sudden drop in blood sugar

Three Types of Fainting

  1. Vasovagal Syncope: This involves the vagus nerve and fainting triggered by emotional trauma, stress, the sight of blood, or standing too long. 
  2. Carotid Sinus Syncope: This occurs when the carotid artery is disrupted, like wearing a too-tight collar.
  3. Situational Syncope: This happens when straining while completing something, like coughing, urinating, bowel movements, or gastrointestinal problems.

What to do when you faint? 

The only way to determine if your fainting needs further medical treatment is to visit an expert medical physician for testing. Also, a medical professional can rule out underlying health issues that cause sudden passing out. Immediately after you or a loved one faints, it is important to: 

  • Sit or lie down for about 15 minutes or until all symptoms of passing out are gone.
    • Symptoms of passing out include dizziness, cold and clammy skin, lightheaded, hot and sweaty, weakness, extreme headaches, and more.  
  • Check for any injuries. Head Injuries are very common after a sudden fainting incident. 
  • Drink ice-cold water. 

Whether you have no prior history of fainting or often have fainting spells, it is encouraged to seek an expert medical professional’s opinion after fainting. At NW Indiana ER & Hospital, we are able to help you or your loved ones 24/7 in any emergency medical situation. We make receiving quick and accurate diagnoses easy with our onsite, advanced laboratory and board-certified physician team. Come on in!

Disclaimer: As a service to our readers, NW Indiana ER & Hospital and Nutex Health state no content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinicians.

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