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Is Fainting A Serious Health Issue? All You Should Know About Syncope

Syncope can lead to common symptoms including headache, black out, unconsciousness, dizziness or drowsiness, fainting, especially after eating or exercising, feeling unsteady or weak while standing and changes in vision.

Is Fainting A Serious Health Issue? All You Should Know About Syncope

Syncope should not be ignored as no episode of losing consciousness is normal, says expert

Fainting is a temporary loss of consciousness that results in a fall if a person is upright, and it is referred to as syncope in medical terms. Common symptoms include headache, black out, unconsciousness, dizziness or drowsiness, fainting, especially after eating or exercising, feeling unsteady or weak while standing and changes in vision, such as seeing spots or having tunnel vision. The evaluation of fainting (medically called syncope) begins with transient loss of consciousness (TLOC), followed by examining the patient's family health history, and frequency of fainting episodes. One must seek an expert's advice when assessing the likely cause of TLOC. Syncope should not be ignored as no episode of losing consciousness is normal. Although, the causes of syncope are generally thought to be neurological, the actual cause is mostly heart disease. Therefore, one must visit a cardiac expert to diagnose, differentiate from dangerous faints, and treat them properly.

Syncope: Causes, prevention and more

What is the most common cause of syncope?


Uneven heartbeats (cardiac arrythmia) that result in the temporary stopping of the heartbeat for a few seconds causing a temporary halt in the blood flow to the brain can result in syncope.

Sudden and brief fall in blood pressure in an upright position leading to decreased blood supply to the brain.

Also read: Here's How Guided Yoga Prevents Fainting

Is syncope a sign of stroke?

Syncope usually does not cause stroke. Although, one subtype of stroke affecting the back of the brain may result in the loss of stability, but consciousness is usually maintained.

Also read: Feeling Dizzy Too Often? Know These Signs And Symptoms Of Positional Vertigo

How does arrhythmia cause syncope?

Syncope is one of the primary symptoms of a serious cardiac arrhythmia. A cardiac arrhythmia is when the heart beats at irregular intervals. The condition causes the heart to either beat too fast (tachycardia), too slow (bradycardia) or at irregular intervals. This further causes the heart to stop pumping blood effectively due excessively fast or slow heart rates, which prevents or reduces the circulation of blood to the brain, ultimately leading to syncope.

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Syncope is one of the primary symptoms of a serious cardiac arrhythmia
Photo Credit: iStock

How can syncope be prevented?

Syncope can be managed with the introduction of few changes in lifestyle, medication, and treatments according to the severity of the disease.

  • Eat regular meals and avoid skipping meals
  • Make sure you drink enough water regularly
  • If you need to stand in one place for a long time, be sure to move your legs. Pace if you can or shake your legs out
  • If you're prone to fainting, avoid exerting yourself in hot weather
  • Take the suggested medications as prescribed, especially for diabetes or cardiovascular issues. If you feel dizzy or lightheaded from taking a medication, let the doctor know. They may be able to find a different medication for you that doesn't cause this side effect
  • Regulate your blood pressure

Also read: Feeling Dizzy? Here's Are Some Possible Causes Of Dizziness You Need To Know

When syncope is caused due to arrhythmia, a cardiac device implantation is a typical treatment provided. It is an electrically charged medical device for managing irregular heartbeats.

(Dr M. Chandramouli, Interventional Cardiologist and Electrophysiologist, Trust Hospitals)


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