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The fainting is not a disease as such, but is a symptom warning of the presence of a specific health disorder. Although in the vast majority of cases it is not serious, it is important to know the causes and symptoms that cause it, as well as how to act.

What is fainting?

Fainting is the temporary loss of consciousness due to decreased blood flow to the brain . In the vast majority of cases, the episode lasts just a few minutes, after which the patient recovers quickly.

Fainting is a problem that occurs very frequently in the population. Recent studies indicate that around 20% of adults have suffered from syncope at some point in their life. The prevalence is similar between men and women.

The causes that cause loss of consciousness can be many: lack of oxygen , poor diet, low blood sugar levels, etc.

Fainting and dizziness

Although there are those who treat fainting and dizziness as the same, the truth is that they are two different conditions.

Fainting refers to syncope , in which there is a decrease in blood flow to the brain, resulting in momentary loss of consciousness. It appears suddenly and usually does not last more than a few minutes or seconds. The patient recovers spontaneously.

As for dizziness, it appears as the combination of a set of symptoms, the most notorious being vertigo . Patients feel that everything around them twists and turns, while being confused and dazed.

Causes of a fainting spell

There are many reasons why a person can faint. In the vast majority of cases, the condition is not serious at all.

Cardiovascular disorders

One of the main causes of fainting, especially in the elderly, is cardiovascular disease .

The most common disorder is myocardial infarction . It occurs when a certain area of the heart muscle dies due to the obstruction of a coronary artery. Thus, this disease occurs when a blood clot blocks the artery.

There are a number of factors that increase the risk of an artery becoming clogged: high blood cholesterol levels, hypertension, obesity, diabetes , etc.

Orthostatic hypotension

Another reason that fainting can occur in both adults and children is orthostatic hypotension. It is a sudden and abrupt drop in blood pressure , generally due to a sudden change in posture; for example, going from lying down to standing, without spending a few seconds sitting down.


During the summer, heatstroke becomes the main cause of fainting, especially in adults and the elderly. As its name suggests, it is a disorder caused by prolonged exposure to high temperatures.

It requires urgent medical treatment as it can cause irreversible damage to vital organs such as the brain, heart and kidneys. If you do not receive assistance in the short term, the risk of death increases significantly.


As experts point out, stress is one of the main diseases of the 21st century, both among adults and children. Well, in the face of very pronounced peaks of stress, you can faint.


When the pain that a person feels is very severe, fainting can also occur. However, it is a situation that is not too frequent since the pain levels must be extreme.


Hyperventilation occurs when a person’s breathing is too fast, which causes the CO2 levels in the blood to drop . A situation that can cause a person to faint.

High intensity physical exercise

Those who do high-intensity physical exercise , especially if they are not sufficiently prepared for it, may also faint. Syncope is relatively common in certain sporting events, such as marathons.


It is called hypoglycemia to low blood sugar levels . A constant supply of sugar is important for the proper functioning of the brain. People with diabetes can develop hypoglycemia and pass out if at any time they exceed the dose of medicine, although it can also be caused by not eating properly.

Straining in defecation

In people who suffer from chronic constipation , exerting intense effort during defecation can also cause this condition.


Fainting is relatively common in pregnant women. During the gestation period, the body undergoes a wide range of changes, such as those that occur in the circulatory system . Some of these changes cause a drop in blood pressure, which can lead to this condition.

In addition, pregnant women need greater amounts of fluid for their body to function properly. Thus, it is necessary that they drink more water so as not to faint.

Symptoms of a fainting spell

There are several symptoms to pay special attention to as they occur prior to fainting. Therefore, they can alert both the patient himself and the people around him that he is about to faint.

It is relatively easy for the patient himself to feel them. One of the most frequent is weakness in the extremities , especially in the legs. In addition, there is a general malaise, with nausea and cold sweats. Another of the most common signs is paleness, as well as visual disturbance and ringing in the ears.

People who are next to the person who is going to faint may perceive that the person is beginning to pale and has a blank look .

Fainting: diagnosis

If fainting occurs repeatedly over time, it is advisable to see a doctor to make a diagnosis and determine the most appropriate treatment.

First of all, the doctor takes a clinical history of the patient, paying attention to his symptoms, as well as other factors: age, health, etc.

Depending on what you think is causing the fainting spells, your doctor orders certain tests. One of the most common is the electrocardiogram to determine if there is a cardiovascular problem. Also the blood test to check blood sugar levels, as well as iron.

Treatment depends fundamentally on what the cause is.

How to avoid fainting?

If with the indicated symptoms a person thinks that he is about to faint, there are a series of measures that he must take into account to avoid it.

The first thing to do is lie down to promote blood flow to the brain . It is important to stay in bed until you really feel better. When this is the case, avoid standing up abruptly.

Another way to promote blood flow to the brain is to sit down and lower your head , placing it between your knees. When the symptoms improve and the patient is recovered, the head should be raised until the back is straightened.

Of course, it is essential to drink fluids to prevent the body from becoming dehydrated. This situation can be critical since if dehydration occurs , the organs can begin to fail.

One last measure to avoid fainting is to always maintain proper blood flow. If you have to sit or stand for a long time for work reasons, a good advice is to periodically tense your leg muscles.

Fainting: first aid

In the event of fainting, it is important to act as soon as possible.

  1. First, it is important to place the patient in a safe and quiet place . If the syncope has been caused by heat stroke, the first thing to do is take the patient to a shady place.
  2. Next you have to check the airways to make sure you are breathing properly.
  3. To promote blood flow from the heart to the brain, both feet must be raised above the level of the heart .
  4. To improve the condition and make the patient more comfortable, tight clothing must be loosened.
  5. If the patient vomits, it is essential to place him in a lateral position . It is safer to prevent you from choking on your own vomit.
  6. Fainting is usually very quick to recover . Until the patient is fully recovered, it is important to keep him calm and quiet.
  7. When recovery occurs, it is essential that the incorporation is done slowly to avoid making the patient dizzy. The first thing is to place him in a sitting position and let him stay that way for a few seconds. Then you can slowly stand up.
  8. Of course, if after a few minutes you do not regain consciousness, emergency services should be called urgently.

What not to do when you faint

There are a number of mistakes that are made very frequently when fainting. One of the most common is trying to replenish the patient too quickly. As we have noted, it is essential that you remain lying down until you are fully recovered.

Nor should you give small slaps in order to regain consciousness of the patient. Experts point out that hitting him is useless. You just have to put it down quietly and leave space around it.

It is also not a good idea to put too many people around the patient. With the assistance of one or two it is enough for him to recover.

The fainting is a common disorder among adults, but can also occur in children. It is important to pay special attention to the symptoms and know how to deal with them.

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Hello Readers, I am Nikki Bella a Psychology student. I have always been concerned about human behavior and the mental processes that lead us to act and think the way we do. My collaboration as an editor in the psychology area of ​​Well Being Pole has allowed me to investigate further and expand my knowledge in the field of mental health; I have also acquired great knowledge about physical health and well-being, two fundamental bases that are directly related and are part of all mental health.

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