Why do i faint

Most people are often puzzled with this question, they often ask themselves why they faint at the  mere sight of blood, why they faint when they stand for long or why they faint when they suddenly  stand.

Well this article is going to help give answers to those questions. Fainting, swooning, passing out, all mean the same thing but it’s medically referred to as syncope which is the temporal loss of consciousness due to reduced blood flow to the brain, it is also the loss of consciousness and muscle strength for a short period of time characterized by a fast recovery which is usually in few minutes, In other words consciousness is not lost for a long period of time as the person normally regain consciousness after few minutes.

Fainting does not just happen, in most cases it is preceded by sweating, lightheaded, nausea,  blurred vision, pale skin, weakness-feeling and in some cases short episode of muscle twitching. Since this article is interested in answering the question that has been bugging your mind, i  will not dwell in describing the fainting process to you because you might have experienced it  first hand.

The causes of fainting can range non-serious to potentially fatal problems and the causes can be  classified into three broad categories:

1. Heart or Blood Vessel related syncope
2. Reflex mediated
3. Orthstatic Postural Hypo-tension

* The Heart/Blood Vessel Syncope is the most serious cause of fainting because it can be as a result of abnormal heart rhythm, problems with the heart muscles or blockage in the blood vessels( veins, arteries) which can reduce flow to the brain which leads to the fainting episode.

* Reflex Mediated Syncope: This is the most common cause of fainting and it occurs when the blood vessels expand and the heart rate decrease inappropriately. This effect may be as a result of stimulating events such as exposure to blood, pains or strong feelings or specific activity such as urination, vomiting or coughing. Reflex mediated fainting could also be as a  result of pressure in an areas of the neck know as (Cartidsinus).

*  Postural Hypotension is a type of fainting- it occurs as a result of drop in the blood pressure when standing that is why it is called postural hypo-tension. (Hypo-tension= low blood Pressure) This often due to medication that a person is taking but it may also be related to dehydration,  significant bleeding, low blood sugar,low blood oxygen and other underlying causes. Now, generally speaking, the best approach to fainting when it occurs often is a medical history, Physical examination and Electro-cardiogram (ECG) because it helps to figure out the  reason or the underlying cause of the fainting spells you are having.

The ECG is used in detecting abnormal heart rhythm, poor blood flow to the muscle and other  electrical issues. Hypo-tension that is low blood pressure and fast heart rate after fainting may indicate blood loss  or dehydration while low blood oxygen levels may indicate that the fainting episode is due to  Pulmonary Embolism (Obstruction in the Vessel), Other tests and other diagnosis can be carried  out once you have visited a health care centre and this should be done as fast as possible as  was pointed out earlier in this article.

The cause of fainting can range from non-serious problems like dehydration, exposure to blood,  vomiting to fatal problems such as Pulmonary Embolism, Arrhythmia (irregular heart Beat) etc.

Having read this article i hope it has provided you with an insight as to why people faint and also helped in providing answers to your Questions about fainting.

Give us feedback on how this has been of help to you!.


Why do i faint

Dr. Real Desmond
Human Physiologist

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