Pain Medicine Specialist, Delhi Pain Management Centre, New Delhi
What is fainting?
Fainting is defined as a loss of awareness or consciousness for an interval of time. The medical term used to describe fainting is syncope.
How does it occur?
Fainting occurs when the blood supply to the brain is not enough for its functioning. This may happen in any condition when the heart is not be able to pump enough blood to the brain as in case of heart valve problems; and if the heart rate is either too slow or too fast, it may also happen if the person is fasting for too long resulting in fall in his blood sugar level or in a diabetic patient.
What are the symptoms of fainting?
The symptoms that a patient may feel before fainting are heart palpitations that is feeling or hearing the heart beating very fast, nausea or a feeling of vomiting or dizziness, weakness, palpitation and a black out.
How is it diagnosed?
The doctor should be consulted immediately to find out the cause. The doctor will take the patient’s medical history and examine him, check the blood pressure and pulse. He will also suggest you some lab tests and electrocardiogram (ECG). The ECG is a record of heartbeat. He may also suggest echocardiogram which is an ultrasound scan of the heart, to find out any abnormality in the heart valve. He may also suggest echocardiogram which is an ultrasound scan of the heart, to find out any abnormality in the heart valve.
How is it treated?
The treatment will depend upon the cause of fainting. In case of abnormality in heartbeats, medicine will be prescribed. In case of reduction of blood flow to the brain because of problems in the blood vessels, specific blood flow increasing drugs may be prescribed.
What first aid can be provided?
The patient returns to consciousness when normal blood flow to the brain returns. The patient should be made to lie down for 10 to 15 minutes with his feet in a raised position. If the patient has normal breathing, his legs should be raised above the level of his chest as this will help in supplying more blood to the brain and help the patient to come back to normal.
To prevent fainting in future, avoid sudden changes in posture and intense physical activities.