Fainting: causes, symptoms and when to consult a doctor - Local news, weather, sports Savannah | WSAV On Your Side

WNCN News

Fainting: causes, symptoms and when to consult a doctor

Posted: Updated:
RALEIGH, N.C. -

Dr. Kevin Campbell discusses fainting on WNCN Today, including what causes it, what symptoms to look for and when to consult your doctor about it.

Fainting, also called syncope, is a sudden, brief loss of consciousness and posture caused by decreased blood flow to the brain.

Fainting is a common problem, accounting for 3 percent of emergency room visits and 6 percent of hospital admissions. A person may feel faint and light-headed (presyncope) or lose consciousness.

Understanding Fainting

So what causes us to faint? Many different conditions can cause a person to faint. These include heart problems such as an irregular heartbeat, seizures, panic or anxiety attacks, low blood sugar, anemia and problems with the nervous system.

The most common type of fainting spell in children and young adults is called a vasovagal attack or neurally-mediated syncope. A vasovagal attack happens because blood pressure drops, reducing circulation to the brain and causing a loss of consciousness. Typically an attack occurs while standing and is frequently preceded by a sensation of warmth, nausea, lightheadedness and visual "gray out." If the syncope is prolonged, it can trigger a seizure.

While fainting may indicate a particular medical condition, sometimes it may occur in otherwise healthy individuals. Fainting is a particular problem for the elderly, who may suffer serious injuries from falls when they faint. In most cases, the individual who has fainted regains complete consciousness within just a few minutes.

Symptoms:

  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Sweating
  • Blurred vision, seeing spots
  • Headache
  • Sensation that the room is moving
  • Ringing in the ears (see tinnitus)
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Paleness
  • Tingling or numbing of fingertips and around lips
  • Bluish cast to the skin
  • Shortness of breath

 

Call your doctor if:

You have an unexplained fainting episode. Especially if the episode occurs during exercise, happens during heart palpitations (feeling the heart beat irregularly) or if you have a family history of recurrent fainting or sudden death.

Tests & Treatments

A heart evaluation usually starts with an electrocardiogram (ECG), which measures the electrical activity of your heart to look for heart arrhythmias. Other tests, such as an exercise stress test, Holter monitor, or echocardiogram may be needed to rule out other cardiac causes of fainting.

If you suffer from episodes of fainting, the type of treatment your doctor offers will depend on the cause of your fainting spells and how often you experience them. Infrequent non-heart-related fainting may not need to be treated. You may be given certain medications to manage the underlying problem, or if you have an irregular heartbeat you may need specific medicines or other treatments.

 

  • Wake CountyMore>>

  • Cary Police release sketch of man accused of sexual assault

    Cary Police release sketch of man accused of sexual assault

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 1:21 PM EDT2014-04-16 17:21:35 GMT
    Sketch of man accused of sexual assault in CarySketch of man accused of sexual assault in Cary
    Cary police have released a sketch of the man accused of sexually assaulting a young woman Saturday.At about 9 a.m. Saturday, police responded to the Hawthorne at the Parkway complex in Cary, where the 20-year-old woman reported that a man who had been behind her in traffic followed her home, pulled up to her in the parking lot and warned her of damage to her vehicle.After thanking him she headed to her apartment, where the same man pushed her inside as she was unlocking the door.The suspect ...
    Cary police have released a sketch of the man accused of sexually assaulting a young woman Saturday.At about 9 a.m. Saturday, police responded to the Hawthorne at the Parkway complex in Cary, where the 20-year-old woman reported that a man who had been behind her in traffic followed her home, pulled up to her in the parking lot and warned her of damage to her vehicle.After thanking him she headed to her apartment, where the same man pushed her inside as she was unlocking the door.The suspect ...
  • 2 more charged in Wake Forest kidnapping case

    2 more charged in Wake Forest kidnapping case

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 1:00 PM EDT2014-04-16 17:00:50 GMT
    Two more people have been charged in the case of Frank Janssen, who was kidnapped in Wake Forest.
    Two more people have been charged in the case of Frank Janssen, who was kidnapped in Wake Forest.
  • Committee weighs how to protect water in Jordan Lake

    Committee weighs how to protect water in Jordan Lake

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 12:35 PM EDT2014-04-16 16:35:09 GMT
    The threat of pollution in Jordan Lake has stirred up debate in the Triangle and the Triad.
    The threat of pollution in Jordan Lake has stirred up debate in the Triangle and the Triad.
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • 42-Year-Old Cold Case Solved

    42-Year-Old Cold Case Solved

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 11:23 AM EDT2014-04-16 15:23:45 GMT
    Closure for families of two teenagers missing since 1971. The South Dakota girls disappeared while driving to a party. Today their families have answers. http://www.nbcnews.com/#/news/us-news/simpl
    Closure for families of two teenagers missing since 1971. The South Dakota girls disappeared while driving to a party. Today their families have answers. http://www.nbcnews.com/#/news/us-news/simpl
  • SURVELLIANCE VIDEO: Runaway Horse in Downtown Savannah

    SURVELLIANCE VIDEO: Runaway Horse in Downtown Savannah

    Tuesday, April 15 2014 5:08 PM EDT2014-04-15 21:08:52 GMT
    WSAV has learned that a horse carriage was involved in an accident in downtown Savannah on Monday. A viewer tells News 3 that the horse went 'berserk' after the accident. Savannah Police have closed
    WSAV has learned that a horse carriage was involved in an accident in downtown Savannah on Monday.
  • Beaufort Sheriff's Office Look For Missing Woman

    Beaufort Sheriff's Office Look For Missing Woman

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 10:00 AM EDT2014-04-16 14:00:12 GMT
    The Beaufort County Sheriff's Office is looking for a missing Lady's Island woman last seen yesterday (Tuesday, April 15th) around noon.  Mercy Ann Eklund left her residence on Fairfield Road in a 2007
    The Beaufort County Sheriff's Office is looking for a missing Lady's Island woman last seen yesterday (Tuesday, April 15th) around noon.  Mercy Ann Eklund left her residence on Fairfield Road in a 2007
Powered by WorldNow

1430 East Victory Drive
Savannah, GA 31404

Telephone: 912.651.0300
Fax: 912.651.0320
Email: newsemailalert@wsav.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.