Syncope refers to loss of consciousness caused by temporary drop in blood flow to brain. It is commonly termed as fainting. Loss of unconsciousness signals impaired functioning of brain. Insufficient oxygen supply to brain due to reduced blood supply makes the body to temporarily shut down the non-vital functions of the body as one of the defense mechanisms.
Depending on the underlying causes, syncope is categorized as ‘neurocardiogenic’ syncope and ‘occupational’ syncope. The former one is caused by temporary malfunctioning of autonomous nervous system leading to reduced blood pressure, lower heart and pulse rate. The occupational syncope is caused by aggressive physical activity and/or sudden episodes of repeated sneezing and coughing.
Individuals with low blood pressure are more likely to experience syncope which may lead to hemorrhage. Emotional stress, dehydration and alcohol consumption are other contributing factors that can lead to syncope.
Individuals with cardiovascular disorders may also experience syncope due to reduce blood and oxygen supply to brain, higher blood pressure and/or any neurological disorders.
- Blacking out
- Change in vision such as seeing black spots
- Weak pulse
- Lower blood pressure
- Sudden fall
- Fainting after exercise or eating
- Feeling dizzy
Diagnosis And Treatment
Doctors may recommend certain tests to diagnose syncope including blood tests, Till test, ECG, exercise stress test, echocardiogram, blood volume determination and hemodynamic testing.
The goal of treatment is to minimize the episode of syncope. Certain medication is prescribed, or some routine medication may be changed. Wearing compressing stocking and elevating head of your bed is advised to improve blood flow. Dietary modifications include eating small frequent meals, increase intake of salt and drinking plenty of fluids.