Fainting – Causes, Symptoms And Management

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Fainting (syncope) is a sudden loss of consciousness.  There can be many reasons for a person to faint, but generally it is due to insufficient oxygen supply to the brain.  The person generally recovers spontaneously.  Fainting referred to here does not include seizures, coma and shock.


If the air a person breaths contains less than 16% of oxygen at atmospheric pressure, he/she is more likely to faint.  There are many possible causes for a person to faint in spite of appropriate oxygen supply in the atmosphere.   One such cause is improper functioning of vagus nerve.  This nerve connects the digestive system to the brain.  Dehydration is another possible cause for fainting.  If a person with heart related ailment faints, it should be treated as a medical emergency.  Excess consumption of alcohol also leads to fainting.  


Typical symptoms include dizziness, confusion, shortness of breath, nausea, sweating, trouble in hearing, headache, trembling, weakness, clamminess of the skin, dimming or complete loss of vision or weakness of limbs.  Sometimes the person may fall down.  


Steps should be taken to ensure that blood is flowing into the brain.  This may be done by helping the affected person to lean forward.  Or the person may be made to lie down and his/her legs elevated.  After the person recovers, it is best to allow the person to sleep for some time.  The person’s pulse should be examined to determine if the fainting is caused by abnormal functioning of the heart.  It is always advisable to consult a physician.

Fainting can be prevented by having food at regular intervals, exercising regularly and by ensuring that you get enough sleep.  


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