Fainting can be caused by minor problems, but it can also be an indication of serious underlying medical conditions. People who have experienced unexplained fainting for the first time shouldn’t rely on non-medical advice to determine whether they should be worried. They should schedule appointments with their doctors. That said, let’s take a look at some of the underlying causes of fainting so that people prone to this problem can get a better idea of what’s going on.
What Causes Fainting?
In most cases, fainting is caused by temporary drops in blood pressure. When a person’s blood pressure drops, even briefly, it causes the brain to lose vital blood flow temporarily, causing a loss of consciousness.
Before discussing the underlying problems that can cause drops in blood pressure, it’s important to get one thing straight. No matter what causes fainting spells, the associated loss of consciousness can leave people prone to potentially dangerous falls. Unexpected falls can be especially devastating for the elderly, which is why anyone who experiences frequent fainting should search for Independent Living Near Me to find a facility that can provide adequate care.
Blood Pressure Drops Caused by Internal Bleeding
There are multiple problems that can cause temporary drops in blood pressure, leading to fainting. One of the most serious of them is internal bleeding. A rupture in the stomach, intestines, or aorta can lead to significant loss of blood without any visible damage. Feeling faint may be the first sign of serious internal bleeding.
Heart Problems Can Contribute to Fainting
Heart conditions can also cause temporary drops in blood pressure. An irregular heart rhythm, a heart valve abnormality, or heart block can all play a role. Anyone with a personal or family history of heart disease should be evaluated by a doctor after his or her first fainting spell to rule out coronary problems. If the person also experiences heart palpitations, feelings of chest tightness, or shortness of breath, he or she should go to the hospital right away.
Seizures Can Mimic Fainting
Seizures are caused by a neurological condition that can lead to the sudden loss of consciousness. Technically, since they aren’t related to blood pressure, seizures don’t cause fainting spells. However, mild seizures that occur without dramatic shaking movements or prolonged loss of consciousness can be difficult to recognize and are often mistaken for fainting.
Vasovagal Syncope Can Cause Fainting
Not all cases of sudden consciousness loss are caused by severe underlying health conditions. Sometimes, fainting can be caused by the stimulation of the vagus nerve. People who have a condition called vasovagal syncope may experience fainting spells when they:
- Strain to pass bowel movements or urinate
- Get their blood drawn
- Go in for vaccinations
- Receive bad news
- Laugh too hard
People who struggle with vasovagal syncope can experience fainting spells at any age. They’re often accompanied by feelings of nausea and a cold sweat.
Orthostatic Hypotension May Cause Fainting Upon Standing
Some people become faint when they stand up. Medically speaking, those people are suffering orthostatic hypotension. When they stand up, gravity pulls the blood temporarily into the lower extremities, reducing the amount of blood that can be pumped to the brain. In serious cases, this can cause fainting spells.
Don’t Leave It Up to Chance
Been experiencing fainting spells and not sure whether to be concerned? It’s never wise to ignore this symptom, as it could indicate a serious underlying condition. Schedule an appointment with the doctor and take steps to avoid potentially dangerous falls during sudden losses of consciousness until a management plan can be established.