Fainting occurs when your blood pressure dips significantly, resulting in decreased blood flow to the brain. Most fainting “spells” are very brief and may be followed by mild confusion upon recovery. Fainting is also referred to as syncope. Some fainting spells can be related to issues like not eating enough or even issues like pregnancy, while others can be associated with serious medical issues like heart attack or other heart-related issues. If you suffer from fainting spells or episodes of near-fainting, you need to be evaluated to determine the underlying cause.
Vasovagal syncope is a “type” of fainting that occurs in reaction to extreme stress or a stressful reaction to certain triggers, like the sight of blood. Vasovagal syncope is usually harmless, but it can result in serious injury as a result of uncontrolled falling that can occur when you pass out. Syncope may also occur after strenuous exercise in some people.
In addition to blacking out (temporarily losing consciousness), syncope may be accompanied by symptoms like:
If you have fainting spells or even a single episode of fainting, you need to be evaluated to determine the underlying cause. During your examination, tests will be performed to evaluate your heart and blood vessels, including EKG testing to assess the electrical activity of your heart, blood tests, and blood pressure measurements. You may be asked to wear a Holter or a cardiac event monitor for a day or so to assess your heart's activity over a longer period of time. Imaging studies like MRIs, CT scans or chest x-rays may also be performed, and you may be asked to undergo a stress test that measures how well your heart responds to physical exercise.