What’s Really Going on When You Faint?

What's Really Going on When You Faint?

Many people have experienced fainting at one time or another. In fact, it’s said that as many as 1 in 3 people will experience at least one episode in their lifetime.

The medical term for fainting is syncope, which is derived from the Greek word “syncope,” which means to contract or cut off. Fainting occurs when the blood flow to the brain is suddenly reduced, which can be caused by a number of different things, some more harmful than others.

Common causes of fainting

Some of the more commonly known causes include:

Irregular heart rhythm:  Sometimes the heart rate can become irregular, beating too fast or too slow. When this happens, the person’s blood pressure often drops and fainting is much more likely to follow. There are many things that can trigger an irregular heart rhythm including an overactive thyroid gland, heart disease, or certain medications.

Orthostatic hypotension: This is the term used to describe a drop in blood pressure that occurs when a person goes from a lying or sitting position to standing up. Some of the most common underlying causes of this include heavy blood loss, medication, drugs (including alcohol), and dehydration. Unfortunately, it also gets more common as people get older.

Vasovagal syncope:  This is the name given to the condition where increased activity occurs within the vagal nerve. As a result, the heart slows down and blood vessels open up. This then causes the blood pressure to drop, meaning not enough blood and oxygen is able to get to the brain. Emotional or physical stress are well-known triggers for this condition, as is the sight of blood. Vasovagal syncope can even occur through excessive coughing or simply straining during a bowel movement.

These are just a few of the more common causes of fainting; there are many others including seizures or low blood sugar levels. But, in many cases, the cause remains unknown. Around 75% of those who experience fainting are perfectly healthy with no underlying issues; however, if you do experience a fainting episode of any kind it’s always a good idea to get checked out by the doctor just to make sure you don’t fall into the other 25%.

Even if there are no underlying issues, it’s not uncommon for people to hurt themselves when they lose consciousness. Unless they’re already sitting or lying down, they’re going to fall. Being pregnant can also lead to an increased risk of fainting as during this time blood pressure is often low and vessels become dilated. The lower the blood pressure , the more likely it is that fainting will occur.

Many years ago in certain circumstances and cultures, fainting or “swooning” actually became expected. An example of this can be seen when studying Victorian England, where it was quite common for aristocratic women of this era to faint during a dramatic event. Hysterical fainting was also seen during this time. This involved large groups of people near each other suddenly fainting after hearing of some kind of shared disease or curse that had been contracted.

Many youngsters often get involved in games that see them trying to faint by breathing fast and deep, then holding their breath and bearing down. However, this is a very dangerous game and no one should ever try to intentionally make themselves faint. If you do find yourself experiencing a fainting episode, try not to panic, but do get yourself checked out as soon as possible. At the end of the day, it’s much better to be safe than sorry.

Written by Mia

Hey Everyone! This is Mia Shannon from Taxes. I'm 28 years old a professional blogger and writer. I've been blogging and writing for 10 years. Here I talk about various topics such as Fashion, Beauty, Health & Fitness, Lifestyle, and Home Hacks, etc. Read my latest stories.

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