Understanding Your Fainting Spells

Posted by: Tampa Cardio

On: July 3, 2015

Fainting is not just for overdramatic ladies in old fashioned movies, but is actually a sign that a very serious medical condition may be present. In the medical world, fainting spells are officially referred to as “syncope,” and can last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes, during which a person loses consciousness after a brief feeling of lightheadedness or dizziness. When a fainting spell occurs, it is because your brain is not getting enough oxygen or blood flow, and there are literally dozens of reasons as to why this might happen.

The severity of a fainting spell can vary, though most will regain consciousness and some sense of normalcy within a few short minutes. Most fainting spells do not require medical attention, and are the result of situational trauma such as extreme fear or emotional disturbances, and even severe pain. A fainting spell can even be brought on by something as simple as standing up too fast, coughing too hard, standing in one position for an extended period of time, or straining excessively during a bowel movement. Some medications can even bring on a fainting spell, especially those that result in a sudden blood pressure drop.

Any type of fainting spell can generally be classified into one of the following three types:

  • Vasovagal – This type of fainting occurs when a person is afraid or experiences emotional trauma or stress.
  • Situational – This type of fainting occurs from physical strain, such as coughing or extreme pain.
  • Carotid Sinus – This type of fainting occurs when the carotid artery in the neck is constricted in some way.

While most causes of a fainting spell are no cause for alarm, there are a few, however, that should definitely raise some red flags and lead you to seek medical attention, whether immediate or otherwise. This is because in some cases, fainting can be the sign of a serious underlying medical condition, such as diabetes, and may be an indication that there are blockages in your heart or that you have an irregular heartbeat, also referred to as a heart arrhythmia. If you have fainted more than once within a one month period, or if you have a history of frequent fainting spells, then a trip to your physician is definitely recommended, at the very least to rule out anything serious.

If your fainting spells are related to a heart arrhythmia, then a serious underlying condition may be present. While most arrhythmias are harmless, there are some that can predispose a person to some very serious complications, such as stroke or heart failure. Fortunately, most arrhythmias can be effectively treated, and there are a number of tests available to help with a proper diagnosis. While fainting spells are one of the more obvious signs that an arrhythmia may be present, patients should also take special note if they are experiencing heart palpitations as well, though many patients will experience no symptoms at all. A proper diagnosis is always the first step in addressing any possible arrhythmia.

If you have been experiencing fainting spells that you think may be heart health related, and you would like to get to the root of your problem so that you may address it properly, contact the physicians at Tampa Cardiovascular Associates by calling (813) 975-2800.

Posted by: Tampa Cardio

On: 03/07/2015

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